Torturing an Argument:

At the same Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) suggested that the administration might be trying to justify torture. His evidence was a New York Times story about a memo produced by a “team of administration lawyers” for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

According to the Times, this memo said that in dealing with detainees at Guantanamo Bay “President Bush was not bound by either an international treaty prohibiting torture or by a federal anti-torture law because he had the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation’s security.” In light of such arguments, what did the Defense Department do at Guantanamo? Said the Times: “Rumsfeld suspended the harsher techniques, including serving the detainee cold prepackaged food instead of hot rations and shaving off his facial hair.”


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