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Critics Still Haven't Read the 'Torture' Memos

Original post made by Sharon, Midtown, on May 16, 2009

WSJ Today Web Link

Ms. Toensing was chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee and deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration.

" The European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ireland v. United Kingdom (1978) specifically found that wall standing (to produce muscle fatigue), hooding, and sleep and food deprivation were not torture.

The U.N. treaty defined torture as "severe pain and suffering." The Justice Department witness for the Senate treaty hearings testified that "[t]orture is understood to be barbaric cruelty . . . the mere mention of which sends chills down one's spine." He gave examples of "the needle under the fingernail, the application of electrical shock to the genital area, the piercing of eyeballs. . . ." Mental torture was an act "designed to damage and destroy the human personality."

The treaty had a specific provision stating that nothing, not even war, justifies torture. Congress removed that provision when drafting the 1994 law against torture, thereby permitting someone accused of violating the statute to invoke the long-established defense of necessity."

She explains why these particular techniques were approved and why certain restrictions were attached -- to make sure that no detainee was subjected to torture.

" The OLC memos reminded their recipients that torture is illegal, and conscientiously advised their recipients how to carefully conduct enhanced interrogations without crossing the line to illegality. Excesses by interrogators would probably have been more likely, not less, if the memos had not been written.

So surely we should call the memos the anti-torture memos."

Comments (5)

Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm


Yes, if this is going to devolve into a leagle eagle affair, I think the leftists will lose. The enahnced interrogation methods are not legal torture.

The important question is: Did waterboarding work? The FBI did not employ it, thus they would not know. The CIA did employ it, and they said it did work, big time.

Let's have a 9-11 commission to determine if it worked, and how many innocent lives were saved. Then we can allow the American people to decide if they support waterboarding (and those who employed it), or not. They can also make their determination as to whether those who opposed it have any moral or ethical values.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2009 at 8:21 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Crime and war are not the same. I blame Bush for his "Bringing them to justice" comments. In war, the objective is to DEFEAT the enemy, not to convict him. An act of war is not a crime.
With regard to the Abu photos, any release should be accompanied with the information that the depicted actions were not authorized and those responsible had already been charged with criminal misconduct before the publicity, proof their actions were not policy. On the other hand, I don't believe any US policy will make the slightest difference in the treatment of our captured soldiers. If agreements worked, we would not have wars in the first place.

Like this comment
Posted by Perespective
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2009 at 6:31 am

Of course critics haven't even read anything. Why should they? They know it is about propoganda and political power, not about facts and justice. Trying hard to turn us into a nation like all the nations south of our border, and won't that be lovely if they succeed? ( but, we CAN'T hope for their failure, can we?)

Besides, the same folks and the President quadrupled our national debt AND national deficit in just the last 3 months, and never read any of those bills before they voted or signed either, so why should they bother reading anything else?

Like this comment
Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2009 at 9:29 am

by Perespective or propoganda itself?

Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm

My favorite part is the last sentence, which should be entered into Simitian's annual "There ought to be a law" contest...

Last sentence in the WSJ article above..

"There should be a rule that all persons proposing investigation, prosecution or disbarment must read the two memos and all underlying documents and then draft a dissenting analysis."

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