Will Torture Return?

by Dish Staff

Frederick Schwarz Jr. fears so:

[B]y making the story narrowly about how torture didn’t work in these instances rather than that torture doesn’t work at all and, more fundamentally, that it should never be used by any White House because it is immoral and illegal––as well as harmful to America’s reputation and the safety of American captives––there is greater risk a future administration faced with peril will say: “Well, we can do it better.”

Itamar Mann compares America to Israel:

The endurance of forceful interrogation in Israel, even after the Israeli Supreme Court seemingly banned it, reflects an inability to abolish such methods.

This reality has been documented by several important Israeli human right organizations, chiefly the Public Committee Against Torture, who initially brought the 1999 case to court. The most important question about torture and other abusive interrogation is not whether it is “civilized” or not. It is what kind of political reality it makes possible, and what kind of political reality it preserves. In the Israeli context, this was and remains an intractable political reality of undemocratic military control over a civilian population.

Thirteen years after 9/11, leading legal academics decry America’s “forever war” (as Harold Koh called it). The perpetrators of torture remain immune from prosecution. And somewhat surprisingly, last week CIA director John Brennan refused to say that the agency will no longer engage in torture. All these reflect a similar inability to move forward. The future of torture in America is all but guaranteed.