Torture and the Law

From the NY Times editorial page yesterday regarding the failure of the Judicial Branch to do its job in applying checks and balances to the Executive Branch:

President Obama, much to his credit, has forsworn the use of torture, but politics and policy makers change and democracy cannot rely merely on the good will of one president and his aides. Such good will did not exist in the last administration. And the inhumane and illegal treatment of detainees could make a return in a future administration unless the Supreme Court sends a firm message that ordering torture is a grievous violation of fundamental rights.

Anyone who doubts the degree of executive branch pliability in this realm needs to consider this: The party that urged the Supreme Court not to grant the victims’ appeal because the illegality of torture was not “clearly established” was the Obama Justice Department.

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

2 thoughts on “Torture and the Law”

  1. Richard,
    In a morally perfect world, there would be no need for war, and certain torture measures used by the CIA, to get information that protects us all. We would then, all live in peace, harmony and goodwill, but this is not the case in this world.

    The question, as I am sure you recognize, is one of nation-state's rights, versus human rights. Does the state have a right to incriminate a citizen? NO, we are protected. But, how much does international law superced our national interests and the laws that protect our citizens? And at what costs, when it comes to terror?

    Terrorists are not just a problem for our country, but others, as well. How do we deal with Iran? And now, with China's selling of arms to Iran? These are questions that continually baffle all of us, and I feel for those in places of power that must make choices and decisions, that will always be milaigned.

    I guess, how one views the question really would depend on what one does. Does one hold to the value and the job of defending the country and protecting freedome's interest for as many as possible? The President has sworn to uphold the Constitution. Or is one's value and job in human rights, where one seeks to protect all humans from discrimination, etc.

    I agree that the executive can not do their own thing, when it comes to these issues apart from the judiaray without undermining the accountabilty of the executive branch.

    We must do our jobs, and there is not an 'idealized worldview' that holds for all places, times, and situations. Practical problems demand compromise, negotiations, and struggle toward the best.

  2. Angie,
    I appreciate those concerns.

    However, the issue of the editorial is not about terror and torture, it is, rather, the refusal of the Supreme Court to review these practices. That is its job and it's lying down and letting the Executive Branch (Bush & Obama) to run all over it. And, as someone who loves our system of government, I think you'd be fully on board with that.

Leave a Reply