THE CONVENTION Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the United States ratified in 1994, prohibits the torture of any person for any reason by any government at any time. It states explicitly that torture is never justified -- ''no exceptional circumstances whatsoever . . . may be invoked as a justification for torture.' Unlike the Geneva Convention, which protects legitimate prisoners of war, the Convention Against Torture applies to everyone -- even terrorists and enemy combatants. And it cannot be evaded by ''outsourcing' a prisoner to a country where he is apt to be tortured during interrogation.
In short, the international ban on torture -- a ban incorporated into US law -- is absolute. And before Sept. 11, 2001, few Americans would have argued that it should be anything else.
Monday, March 21, 2005
From The Boston Globe: