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Torture

November 16th, 2005 - 6:29 am

No, not torture like my Chicago-New York flight yesterday, but the real kind:

The Senate passed a defense bill Tuesday that would ban torture of terrorism detainees and grant them limited access to federal courts.
By an 84-14 vote, the Senate passed an amendment that would allow the roughly 500 detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to appeal convictions by military tribunals if they face the death penalty or at least 10 years in prison. The appeals would be heard in federal court. Detainees also would be allowed to appeal their designation as enemy combatants.

That reads like a pretty sensible compromise. Also, it doesn’t look like John McCain’s “CIA exemption” made it into the final bill. Good. It seems silly to trust the CIA – which hardly ever gets anything right – with something as morally repugnant as torture, especially given its questionable utility.

At this point, some well-meaning person might trot out the old “if there was a nuclear timebomb and we had a prisoner who knew something…” argument. A) That’s unlikely as hell. B) Torture still might not get us any usefull information. C) If it somehow did, then there’s probably not a DA who would indict our torturer, and there’s certainly no jury that would convict.

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