OPINION: Talking about torture

‘We do not torture’

This last week, the nation’s leading newspaper established that the Bush Administration continues to use torture techniques as a matter of formal policy, crafted at its highest levels. This comes more than three years following the exposure of the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and more than two years after the Administration’s lies about the use of torture, unconvincing to start with, were finally exploded by the issuance of a series of internal reports. We face now a leadership stained with deceit and criminality. More importantly, it is a leadership which can never recognize nor admit its failings and moral errors. Hence, consistent with a tyrannical disposition, it acts to force all to accept its crimes as lawful, and thus to pervert the law and the institutions charged to enforce it. [complete article]

Defusing the “ticking time bomb” excuse

The most recent Democratic presidential candidate debate made it clear that America has traversed considerable ground of late in the discussion of torture. Notably, at the Hanover debate, Hillary Clinton took a giant step forward when she declared that she was opposed to torture on any grounds, in any circumstance. “As a matter of policy,” she said, torture “cannot be American policy. Period.”

Moderator Tim Russert then laid out the typical ticking time bomb scenario — describing a suspect who has information about an imminent terrorist attack, and torture might be the only way to retrieve that information fast enough to save lives. Even after Russert pointed out her husband had defended the use of torture in such an extreme case, she refused to backtrack. [complete article]

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