Home > Politics, Torture > ICRC Torture Report, II

ICRC Torture Report, II


Three weeks ago I had a post on the February 2007 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the CIA on “the Treatment of Fourteen ‘High Value Detainees’ in CIA Custody.” In the post, I linked to and quoted from Mark Danner’s article about the report in the April 9 New York Review of Books. A week ago I began to see references to Danner’s follow-up article, but I preferred to read it in the print edition of the New York Review rather than online, so I waited until my copy finally came, two days ago. I’ve not finished the article yet, but let me once again provide a link, this to Danner’s second article, in the April 30 issue. And the New York Review has posted the report itself, here.

As we await tomorrow’s decision by the Obama administration on how much to make public from three 2005 Justice Department memoranda providing legal guidance on CIA interrogations, I’ll quote just one excerpt from the second Danner article.

It is a testament as much to the peculiarities of the American press—to its “stenographic function” and its institutional unwillingness to report as fact anything disputed, however implausibly, by a high official—that the former vice-president’s insistence that these interrogations were undertaken “legally” and “in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles” continues to be reported without contradiction, and that President Bush’s oft-repeated assertion that “the United States does not torture” is still respectfully quoted and, in many quarters, taken seriously. That they are so reported is a political fact, and a powerful one. It makes it possible to contend that, however adamant the arguments of the lawyers “on either side,” the very fact of their disagreement makes the legality of these procedures a matter of partisan political allegiance, not of law.

I hope Obama and Attorney General Holder release the memos in full, without redaction.

Categories: Politics, Torture
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