Sunday, May 08, 2005

Torture, again

Let's take a look at some comments from Attorney General Alberto Gonazalez in the recent AP story Most detainee prisoner abuse reports don't qualify as torture
Many of the accounts detailing abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay by American military and civilian personnel don't meet the definition of torture, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said.
True, but recall Gonzalez previously changed the definition of torture. As the article continues
Gonzales, who grew up in Houston, said Congress requires proving that intentional infliction of severe physical and mental pain or suffering occurred to have a prosecutable case of torture.
How convenient. Nevermind the consequences of an individual's behavior so long as they promise they didn't mean it.
"This president has said consistently that the United States does not condone torture and does not as a matter of policy engage in torture, and if anyone is in violation of the president's directive or the law, they will be held accountable," he said.

Gonzales has been criticized for approving an August 2002 memo while he was White House counsel that said laws prohibiting torture do "not apply to the president's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants." The document also said "injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions" must occur for an incident to qualify as torture.

Right, we're against torture, but just to be clear, nearly anything short of death isn't torture and besides, torture laws don't apply anyway.

If I told someone that I did not approve of anyone robbing them, but that for something to be theft an intent to cause a person financial ruin must be demonstrated and that a person's car, house, credit cards, and bank account all had to be stolen before an incident could qualify as theft and that laws prohibiting theft don't apply to them would my condemnation of theft carry much weight?

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