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Archive for December, 2014

The Jeffersonian

In all the analysis and discussion of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, we are missing a key question. Rather, we can easily think about a key question incorrectly. The question is simple: why did we torture prisoners? The answer is equally simple: to obtain information that would keep our country safe. That launches us into discussions about whether these so-called enhanced interrogation techniques yielded information that actually helped our national security apparatus.

That line of reasoning misses the point for two reasons. First, torture is a crime no matter what reason you give for engaging in it. International and domestic laws about torture do not include a self-defense provision. Torturers are criminals, period. More significantly, given the way bureaucracies work, people who authorize or order torture are criminals.

These criminals currently serve in our government. They are rewarded, honored, and promoted for their service. Others have retired from government…

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