The U.K's Guardian held a debate between Condi Rice's top lawyer John Bellinger at the State Department and Phillipe Sands a law professor from University College London recently.
Mr Bellinger made his remarks during a Guardian debate with Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London. Mr Sands asked whether he could imagine any circumstances in which waterboarding could be justified on an American national by a foreign intelligence service. "One would have to apply the facts to the law to determine whether any technique, whatever happened, would cause severe physical pain or suffering," Mr Bellinger said. -- via harpers.org/NoComment
In other words, sure why not. If its legal for us to do it then as long as it wasn't too severe, no problem!
Here is a link to a podcast of the debate guardian.co.uk
The senior legal adviser to the Secretary of State of the United States is declaring that provided there are limits, its OK to torture U.S. troops. I wonder how the Pentagon feels about this? I am pretty sure I know how the troops would feel about it.
Here are the ways torture is illegal:
- The Federal Anti-Torture Act
- The Federal War Crimes Act (which, even as amended by the Military Commissions Act, bans acts such as waterboarding)
- Federal criminal assault laws (which, under the PATRIOT Act, apply to all assaults by or against Americans on or in overseas facilities designated for the use of the federal government)
- The McCain Amendment in the Detainee Treatment Act
- The Senate-ratified Convention Against Torture
- The Senate-ratified Geneva Conventions (particularly Common Article 3, which prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees)