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Froomkin on Torture Redux

The Washington Post has published a copy of a second memo that says torture's OK, this one a DOJ product, and Froomkin's at it again. His summary says it all:

In the views of the author(s), thereís basically nothing Congress can do to constrain the Presidentís exercise of the war power. The Geneva Conventions are, by inevitable implications, not binding on the President, nor is any other international agreement if it impedes the war effort. Iím sure our allies will be just thrilled to hear that. And, although the memo nowhere treats this issue, presumably, also, the same applies in reverse, and our adversaries should feel unconstrained by any treaties against poison gas, torture, land mines, or anything else? Or is ignoring treaties a unique prerogative of the USA?

What I find particularly repellant is this (from the WaPo):

The 2002 memo, for example, included the interpretation that "it is difficult to take a specific act out of context and conclude that the act in isolation would constitute torture." The memo named seven techniques that courts have considered torture, including severe beatings with truncheons and clubs, threats of imminent death, burning with cigarettes, electric shocks to genitalia, rape or sexual assault, and forcing a prisoner to watch the torture of another person.

"While we cannot say with certainty that acts falling short of these seven would not constitute torture," the memo advised, ". . . we believe that interrogation techniques would have to be similar to these in their extreme nature and in the type of harm caused to violate law."

In other words, anything that's not part of the Seven Illegal Techniques is OK.

I can't find any new words to express my disgust.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 14, 2004 12:05 AM.

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