A couple of weeks ago a couple of commission reports came out, on intelligence gathering and Abu Ghraib and all that. At one point the advice was given, that if some emergency required exceptional methods of interrogation, such things should be undertaken only by decision of the highest authorities, not by local commanders.
Well and good, but the learned commissioners omitted one significant thing: Torture is illegal, here and now, under the law of the United States, under all circumstances.
It's understandable that hardly anyone picked up on this fact from my previous posting on the Presidential policy for these matters. ("Just say no to torture") After all, it was imbedded in a document that some might think facetious, insisting as it does on the President of the United States as an upholder of the law. Perhaps if I had been more straightforward, they might have picked up on this point of law. Well, no, I suppose not.
Despite the fact that there are only three people in the world who understand this (as Eddington said, Who's the other one?) it's not really difficult. As one-two-three may be a bit of an intellectual strain for the highest level of our goverment, here it is, as simple as One Two:
- "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." -- Constitution of the United States of America, Article VI, clause 2. The italics are all mine, but you may borrow them if you like.
- "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture." -- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 2, paragraph 2; ratified October 21, 1994 by procedures specified in the United States Constitution.