U.S. policy hypocrisy evident in CIA torture

To the author of the letter, "CIA needs guidelines, congressional backing," (Dec. 27), and any others confused on the terrible legacy of torture left us by the CIA: We've already defined torture in U.S. law. We adopted and ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture in 1994. Congress elaborated on the criminality of torture in 18 U.S.C. § 2340. And there is the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits (but does not define) cruel and unusual punishment.

The honorable Congress critters used their well-worn dictionary of weasel words to obfuscate and cloud some of the clear injunctions, but still, everything done by the CIA, as reported by the Senate committee, falls neatly into the realm of torture. Not enhanced interrogation but gross and consistent infliction of pain and suffering. Context has nothing to do with it, but hypocrisy, one of our leading exports, certainly does.

We practiced tortures that we have prosecuted after real war and condemned when used by other countries that could as legitimately claim "national security" as we did. So, it's not a question of Congress not clearly prohibiting torture, it's we as a nation allowing our representatives to turn a blind eye to it.

Shame on us.

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