Spencer Ackerman reports over at TPMMuckraker that senators Dodd and Menendez are going to introduce a bill that would ban torture and restore Habeas Corpus to detainees at Gitmo. That’s a hopeful sign; the approval of the detainee trial bill last September will be a black eye on America’s moral standing for decades, if not longer, and the removal of its sanctioning of torture and the abandonment of basic constitutional protections for those under our care can’t happen soon enough. For backstory, here is some of my posting about it then (in roughly reverse order): here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
I thank Andrew Sullivan in particular for his reporting on the issue. I think we share some of the sensibilities about how torture is incompatible both with America’s best ideals and with Christian ethics, and I agree with his concern about what our use of torture has done for our international image.
His most recent post on the subject is fascinating: taking a look at the approbation of torture on popular television programs like 24 and how it impacts thinking on torture. I’d suggest reading it all.
Pre-9/11: torture is used by bad guys. That’s one of the ways you know they’re bad guys.
And today? Actually, nothing’s changed. It’s still how you know who the bad guys are. We just seem to have temporarily forgotten that.