As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just Makes Me Sad

I agree that it really is sad that we have to create an American anti-torture act to police American interrogators and ensure that they stop torturing. The world of early 2001 would literally not be able to conceive of the need for such a law.

We urge you to join us in cosponsoring “The American Anti-Torture Act of 2007” to ensure a uniform, minimum standard for interrogations of detainees by the U.S. government. The American Anti-Torture Act ensures that individuals in U.S. custody are not tortured, a core standard already embodied in the Army Field Manual. In doing so, it reasserts basic American values as a basis for government action.

Congress took an essential step toward prohibiting torture by American personnel with the adoption of the McCain Amendment, the first part of which requires the Department of Defense to adhere to the Army Field Manual when interrogating detainees[1]. The Amendment had overwhelming bipartisan support. It was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress, winning the votes of 46 Republicans and 44 Democrats in the Senate and 107 Republicans and 200 Democrats in the House. The American Anti-Torture Act simply extends this first part of the McCain Amendment to all U.S. agencies.

The American Anti-Torture Act would thus ensure a single, uniform, baseline standard for all interrogations conducted on persons in the custody of, or under the effective control of, the U.S. Government. The bill would clarify that interrogation techniques that are prohibited for use by the military’s own field manual on interrogations are similarly prohibited if used by the CIA or other government agencies. Like the McCain Amendment, the bill would not apply to individuals in custody under a criminal or immigration law of the United States.

This is obviously in response to the revelations that the 2004 McCain Amendment was essentially nullified by both signing statement and legal opinion inside the Office of Legal Counsel.

It still blows my mind that this needs to be said. Torture doesn't work. It creates false confessions and other dubious intelligence, puts our own troops at risk, becomes a recruiting point for Al Qaeda, and eliminates our moral authority around the world.

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