One Person's Opinion

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Tuesday, March 11, 2003
I'd been meaning to blog something on the sudden desire of many Americans, American commentators, and American governmental officials to endorse torture in the wake of 9/11. This is of particular interest to me, because I have litigated torture cases and the universal legal principle condemning torture is very important to me. But Eve Tushnet beat me to it, and posted some of the most articulate arguments on the subject I have ever read, so I will just refer you to her:

Click here

The only thing I would add to Ms. Tushnet's excellent analysis is that there are also strong and important international law rationales for the prohibition on torture, rationales that the US has acceded to when it ratified the Convention Against Torture with bipartisan support, and when former President Bush signed the Torture Victim Protection Act, 28 U.S.C. ยง 1350 note. It has been fashionable to decry international law of late, but I can tell you that I have personally witnessed how these laws, especially when used in conjunction with the work of Amnesty International and even the US State Department in calling attention to countries that torture, have had a substantial impact. Before 9/11, only Israel officially dissented from the international consensus on torture, and they were roundly condemned for it. It would be a day of celebration for torturers in places like Beijing, Havana, Rangoon, and Riyadh if the United States decided to add its voice in dissent.

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