Cruel Intentions

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Intel Dump
Copyright 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008; 10:41 AM

Among the more Kafkaesque arguments proferred by the Bush administration for its coercive interrogation (or torture) regime is this: Cruel, inhuman or degrading acts are not torture if they're done with good intentions. That is to say, if an interrogator tortures someone because he honestly believes he is doing so to prevent another terrorist attack (as opposed to doing so for the sake of cruelty), then that's okay. It's an extreme interpretation of the intent requirement in the federal anti-torture statute. This argument permeates most of the torture memos, including the infamous Yoo-Bybee memo from August 2002 and the DoD Working Group memo from March 2003. Today's New York Times reports that the CIA's interrogation program now relies on this argument for its legal foundation. In essence, because CIA officers believe they're Jack Bauer, working hard to protect the country, they can't be guilty of torture, no matter what they


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