| | Comments (0)
A lot of people having complained that Don Rumsfeld last week said, "My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture. ... I don't know if the -- it is correct to say what you just said, that torture has taken place, or that there's been a conviction for torture."

The question asked of him is whether torture took place. He attempted to give a reasonable answer to the question. But many people say, how can it be anything but torture? Look at the pictures! Read the report!

Human Rights Watch quotes the Convention Against Torture, saying it defines torture as "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…." (emphasis mine)

That is to say, abuse must be inflicted for a specific purpose -- for example, extracting information -- in order to be called torture. It does not matter how bad the abuse is, or what the abuse is, it must have a specific purpose in order to be torture. That is not to say that torture did not take place, but it is wholly right to question whether abuse amounts to torture, which is something that the photographic evidence does not -- probably cannot -- show. In my reading of the report, it doesn't show it either. It suspects it, which is why further investigations are called for in said report.

That is to say, Rummy was absoultely right to question whether torture has, in fact, taken place. He was wrong to say it in a press conference where people wouldn't understand the relevant legal nuances, and where he might betray his own lack of understanding of the evidence.

From all the little bits of information that have been coming out, from the pervasive allegations that they were told to "soften up" the prisoners, it seems that this likely was abuse for a purpose that makes it amount to torture. But I have not seen enough evidence to convince me of that yet. I would be surprised if I didn't see that evidence eventually.

My only question is whether Rummy had enough evidence to call it torture at the time he said it, and if he has that evidence now.

Leave a comment

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by pudge published on May 10, 2004 12:17 PM.

Ignorance was the previous entry in this site.

Mac-Carbon-0.70 Released is the next entry in this site.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.