The finer points of defining torture
How did our country end up going down this torturous road to condoning torture? Mr. Gonzales is being considered for attorney general, and this is appalling in light of making moral choices. He wrote up legal briefs and memos justifying torture in the U.S.-run prisons around the world, and in effect said the president can ignore the Geneva principles. And Mr. Bybee (assistant attorney general) went on to say that for an act to be torture, it must be done for sadistic enjoyment and not just for information. (I guess that's why Mr. Graner and Ms. England got into trouble.) As per memos uncovered by the ACLU, the FBI was aware of torture and did very little to halt this. Those memos reflect a common thread through the various types of torture and show a wide geographical reach.
Mr. Bush claimed the U.S. forces "shall continue to treat detainees humanely, and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva." Lots of wiggle room there. As any thinking person knows, you can justify anything in the end. One would hope that the person elected to our highest office would say, "Follow the Geneva principles always, no matter what."
Mr. Arar of Canada was extradited to Syria by the U.S. authorities in New York [to face] "torture by proxy." He was imprisoned and tortured for 10 months. Our government sent a man (who had never been charged with any crime) to a country that we have declared a "terrorist" state, to be tortured.
And for those who believe that morality is relative and claim we're better than the terrorists because we don't behead people, let me share this fact with you: The U.S. government has uncovered five prisoners beaten to death in Iraqi prisons, and is currently investigating 23 more [cases].
How have we come to this?
– Susan Oehler