As the LA Times reports:
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention ... the exclusion of the Geneva provisions may make it more difficult for the administration to portray such incidents [as Abu Ghraib and Haditha] as aberrations. And it undercuts contentions that U.S. forces follow the strictest, most broadly accepted standards when fighting wars.
“The rest of the world is completely convinced that we are busy torturing people,” said Oona A. Hathaway, an expert in international law at Yale Law School. “Whether that is true or not, the fact we keep refusing to provide these protections in our formal directives puts a lot of fuel on the fire.”
... The move to restore U.S. adherence to Article 3 [of the Geneva Conventions] was opposed by officials from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office and by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, government sources said ... The military lawyers, known as judge advocates general, or JAGs, have concluded that they will have to wait for a new administration before mounting another push to link Pentagon policy to the standards of Geneva.
James D. Macdonald ::: Torture: It’s the New Black
This argument to practicality is one designed for ... the ones who think that Torture Works...
Even if it did work, which we know it does not [see all below], torture would still be wrong because it coarsens the torturer, betrays our ideals, and hardens the resolve of our enemies.
dir.salon.com/story/opinion/feature/2004/0(You might also Google on "torture warrants".) 6/21/torture_algiers/print.html
June 06, 2006, 11:17 AM:
Remember that the Spanish Inquisition abolished torture in their courts on the grounds that it doesn't yield true information.
Say what you will about the Spanish Inquisition, you have to admit that they had a certain ... expertise ... in the matter.
(Speaking of the Inquisition, for the first twenty years of its existence it wasn't allowed torture at all. When torture was introduced it was under strict guidelines: torture was to be applied only once, it was supposed to be of such a manner and degree that it did not imperil life or limb, and it was only supposed to be applied when manifold and weighty proofs showed that the accused was guilty and was lying. Torture was only supposed to be applied when all other expedients had already been exhausted. Boy does that ever sound familiar....)
June 06, 2006, 04:26 PM:
Recall that the North Vietnamese excuse for torturing our troops was that since we were involved in an illegal war, our troops were unlawful combatants and the Geneva Conventions didn't apply to them.
It was a false argument then (there is no class of person not covered by the Geneva Conventions), and it's a false argument now.
June 06, 2006, 04:47 PM:
Many years ago, I was in SERE School. One of the parts of that was the Prisoner of War sequence. We were questioned (using methods that didn't result in permanent disability). Part of that was teaching us how to resist questioning. The other part was training the interrogators -- they'd been instructed to learn about a certain subject that their prisoners didn't know anything about. They got the information anyway, and constructed an elaborate and self-consistent story. It was all fantasy. This was teaching them the limits of harsh interrogation.