I think it’s time I threw my hat into the ring on the whole “torture scandal”. I know this is a touchy subject and I know it’s going to hit
some nerves on both sides but anyone with character will let his stance be known, debate it, and stand by it.
First thing is first what is the definition of torture? Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, is: "any act by which
severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third
person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating
or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the
instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or
suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions."
Ok so now that we know what the definition of torture is we have to ascertain which methods are considered torture. Is banging a persons head against
a cement wall several times till blood squirts out torture? Is locking someone in a room with Paris Hilton music torture? Is locking someone in a
small area with a spider torture? Is waterboarding torture? Do we have a handbook listing what is and is not torture?
Then we have to decide the legality of torture. Is there a law on the US books that says if anyone in our government tortures or orders torture is
there is a prison cell waiting for them. If it’s not illegal per a law per se than is it morally right to torture? Is the US going to be a beacon of
light in the world or we going to put ourselves on the same level as countries we condemn all the time for torture like the Chinese? These are the
questions we have to ask ourselves before making informed decisions as citizens.
Now here are my thoughts. I cannot find one US law on the books stating that it is illegal to torture. If someone can find one please show me the code
and I’ll remedy the post. There is however an international treaty that we are apart of that says we will not torture nor will we send people to
countries that do participate in torture. Now Article Six of our Constitution says the following…
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under
the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the
Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
So although there is no law on the books here in the US about torture we are signed into a treaty that says we will not torture so this to me says for
us to torture is 100% illegal under US law.
But then that brings us to what is torture. I mean according to the definition the UN gives it leaves a wide variety of things open to what is
torture. This to me is scary because I personally do not think leaving someone in a room with Paris Hilton music is torture or locking someone in a
small area with a spider whereas according to the definition the UN gives those are considered torture. I do feel waterboarding is indeed torture.
So now the question is do I feel there needs to be prosecutions and I say you do. I don’t think we need to prosecute the people who actually did the
torture I do feel it’s the people who told the people it was ok to torture is who you go after. Do I feel they need prison sentences? It depends, if
they unknowingly gave the ok then they do need to be disbarred because if you are a lawyer and don’t know the law you need to find another
profession. If they knew the law and still gave the Ok anyways then I see some prison sentences that need to be handed out. Proving they knew would be
quite hard however.
I also think we need to exit out of the international treaty we are in because it is way too vague on the definition of torture. We should never of
signed it in the first place. We then need clear laws passed here what is and is not torture and we need to stick by those guidelines. What differs
America is we are a nation of laws. I’m not going to go into the morality of it because morality is in the eye of the beholder but I will say if we
do the same things that countries like China does then what high ground do we have on them?