Poor Andy is having another snit. His dream lover, Obama, has fallen on his face over the undiebomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The font of all evil, Dick Cheney, has criticized Obama for his 9-10 mindset - giving the undiebomber Constitutional rights and a lawyer instead of transferring him to military custody and interrogating him until the undiebomber provided every bit of intelligence he could on his al Qaeda contacts, etc. It does not seem to bother Andy that the undiebomber now sits in a federal prison, and, having been arraigned in the criminal system and provided a lawyer, is not answering questions. Indeed, Andy doesn't even acknowledge the implications of that for our national security.
Andy reasons that, because anyone would want to interrogate the undiebomber without the benefit of full constitutional protections, then that must mean that they want to "torture" them with waterboarding, etc. And while that does not logically follow, apparently most of America does feel that way. Assuming Rassmusen's recent poll is accurate, the vast majority of Americans want to see the undiebomber treated as an enemy combatant and a majority would like to have him being waterboarded for intelligence information at this very moment.
This all has Andy howling in moral self righteousness. Further, Andy, who to the best of my knowledge has never completed a day of law school, nonetheless feels himself fully qualified to tell us in absolute terms what both U.S. and international law is as regards torture. This from excitable Andy:
. . . here's the critical line (from Cheney):
You make him tell you what he knows so you can prevent new attacks.
That's the line that defines torture. If you can impose enough mental or physical pain or suffering to make someone tell you something you want to hear you have forced them to say something, true or false, to get the torture to stop. The fact of the matter is: this is illegal under any rational understanding of domestic and international law. In fact, domestic and international law mandates that governments do not even contemplate such measures, especially in extreme circumstances.
Andy is so far off the reservation it's jaw dropping. Indeed, he is creating definitions out of whole cloth. The legal definition of torture under U.S. law and international treaty is "SEVERE" mental or physical pain or suffering. Andy substitutes for the word "severe," the word "enough." Under Andy's definition of torture, putting even the smallest iota of mental pressure on a person during interrogation would be torture IF it resulted in the person providing full and complete answers to your questions. To put it another way, a successful interrogation would be ipso facto proof of torture, as virtually every interrogation can be cast as causing some iota of mental pain and suffering.
Amazing. Andy must be a very happy man since it appears that, in his closeted Orwellian world, words mean whatever he wants them to mean and reality is whatever he wants it to be. There are no shades of grey for Andy, and those of us who have arrived at different conclusions than he based on facts and reasoning are the embodiment of evil. He seems to operate on pure depth of emotion. Indeed, he concludes his rant with the statement "If you believe in torture, support the GOP. That's what conservatism is now all about." Neither intellectual rigor nor concern for factual accuracy are among excitable Andy's long suits.
You can find the actual legal standards for torture here, as well as a fairly detailed analysis of what torture is and is not under those definitions. I fall in the category of those who, having reviewed the law and the techniques used by the CIA in enhanced interrogation, believe that all of the techniques, including waterboarding, do not constitute torture under U.S. law or International Treaty. But that aside, it cannot be argued that, as to the undiebomber, Obama has made us less safe by gratuitously treating him as a criminal rather than an enemy combatant. That was the thrust of Cheney's criticism of Obama, and it is that criticism that Andy, in puffed up moral outrage, blithely sidesteps.
It honestly mystifies me that Andy still has a job at the Atlantic. I would expect stronger, more reasoned arguments out of juniors in high school. And indeed, one wonders at what the i.q. must be of those who read and actually buy into Andy's highly emotional, substanceless rants.