As Congress debates the mammoth bill known as the
Under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, all U.S. personnel were ordered in general terms to refrain from engaging in "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in custody. But only interrogators employed by the
In 2009, President
It might seem obvious that all of these methods amount to "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment." But as lawyers in the Bush administration demonstrated, general definitions of torture can be creatively construed to justify horrific abuses. It's vital that prohibitions of torture be both general and specific.
In addition to codifying Obama's order, the amendment proposed by Feinstein and McCain would require that the manual be periodically reviewed to ensure that its provisions reflect U.S. legal obligations and "evidence-based best practices" for interrogations that don't involve the use or threat of force. Revisions would be made public. Finally, the bill requires all agencies of government to provide the International
In the panic that followed 9/11, the U.S. government forsook American values and traveled to what former Vice President
In her foreword to that report, Feinstein, then the committee chairwoman, wrote that Obama's executive order should be "enshrined in legislation." Now is the time for Congress to take that step.