Gregory Djerejian has an excellent commentary on our government’s recent announcement that detainee treatment practices have changed for the better. In particular this ending paragraph stands out:
Note this is not about knee-jerk detainee rights absolutism, as some would have it. Ensuring torture is totally banned under American law is a touchstone issue that defines our very civilization, to include its continued embrace of Englightenment values, a belief in progress in the face of adversity, and ensuring that our most odious enemies are not successful in having us sully our human rights leadership, one so hard earned through the Cold War. In short, we must all remain seized and vigilant with regard to the great import of regaining our moral leadership on the world stage with respect to these foundational issues.
Nothing to add.
Relatedly, Kevin Drum looks at the practices used at the now-defunct secret prisons (I thought those were a myth?) and observes:
Is this torture? There’s an easy question that provides some moral clarity here: If someone else did this to American prisoners, would you consider it torture? If you would, then it’s torture when we do it too.
Steve Benen points out that the administration has hardly given up on torture yet, despite the fact that even our own military believes that it is ineffective at gathering useful intelligence. Really warms your heart.