I wrote Monday about how torture is incompatible with Christian Ethics. All Christians, everywhere, but particularly in the United States, of any political stripe or party, ought feel obligated by their faith to condemn the use of torture by our government.
The recently announced legislative compromise brought McCain, Warner, and Graham back to the fold. But it doesn’t prohibit torture. (There are other problems with the legislation, but few as outrageous as this).
Sure, on the face of it it does. But it doesn’t. At least, so argues Andrew Sullivan, who first links to analysis by Marty Lederman and then concludes:
So we “formally” leave Geneva alone, but grant the executive branch complete discretion in determining what “cruel” means; and the language of the bill certainly can be construed to allow waterboarding, hypothermia, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and long-time standing. It even allows for a person to be beaten, cut, or near-drowned.
Sullivan believes that McCain doesn’t see this to be the case, but, through an Orwellian use of language, these abuses remain viable. (More Sullivan on this issue here and here, and a link to the actual proposed legislation. (pdf)) I’d commend it all for your reading.
I’m no attorney. I’m a pastor and an ethicist I don’t know if Sullivan is correct without much more study. But granting that he might be: what will we do about it? Do we even care?
I’m mortified and sickened tonight by the thought of what this legislation will permit.
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