Friday, January 07, 2005

When is it OK for US government employees to torture?

Here's how to do it: Torture is illegal and we don't do loopholes to make it legal.

If you are on the spot and you have a suspected terrorist (or other suspected criminal), and you must get information quickly to protect innocent or righteous lives, and in your judgement you have no better method to get that information, you should go ahead and do illegal torture. Videotape it, if you have the resources to do that. Put it in the official record what you're doing. Get whatever results you get. And be ready to stand trial.

If it's important enough to torture a suspect for, it's important enough to stand trial and maybe take your punishment. If you aren't sure enough to put your career and freedom on the line, then don't do it.

If the President (or maybe the Governor) decides that you did the right thing he can pardon you. We don't need to change the laws for it. We only need to change the laws if we expect it to happen so often that the President doesn't have time to review the cases.

Torture should be illegal. It should be rare. We don't need to mess with the laws about it.

The same rules apply to civilians. If you capture a suspected terrorist, and you are sure he's doing a terrorist act and there isn't time to get the authorities in to interrogate him, you can torture him on the spot. If possible get a cell phone going to the police or whoever you can reach, and get the info to them as fast as possible, preferably straight from the victim. The recording will be part of the case against you. If you're right maybe you won't even go to trial, or you won't be convicted or sentence deferred or you'll be pardoned. If you're wrong.... But if you're sure, it's your duty to accept whatever consequences come to you personally when you torture somebody to protect the innocent.

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