Last night George Washington Consitutional Law ProfessorJonathan Turley was on Keith Olbermann’sCountdown on MSNBC where they discussed the subject. I added the emphasis.
OLBERMANN: Last Friday here, you were telling us thatsome of the detainees from the secret CIA cells, when moved to Guantanamo, might have the opportunity in the immediate future to talk to the Red Cross about their own interrogations. Is there anything more on the possibility that, that, that‘s going to happen and thatwhich might explain the president‘s anger and his rush over this as having more to do with what his administration has already sanctioned, and not about what is yet to come?
TURLEY:It has all the indications is that is exactly what is happening. The administration for years has conspicuously attempted to get things like waterboarding approved as nontorture. Waterboarding, when you convince someone they‘re going to drown by drowning them, and at least to the point of death. And waterboarding is defined as torture around the world.
Now, obviously, the administration has not gotten that thus far. Butthere is a strong suspicion that we have indeed been engaging in torture. Remember, some of these people were captured when the White House had signed a memo that defined nontorture as anything short of organ failure, that they believed that as long as they didn‘t cause organ failure or death, they were not engaged in torture.
That shocked the world.
So what has happened in the past, in our name, has many of us wondering. But there is a feeling, and I am one of those people that has it, thatwe are about to hear some accounts coming out that our president may have ordered American personnel to become torturers. And that is so serious, it is almost beyond definition.
OLBERMANN: How serious would that be for the president? Are there elements of the Constitution that refer to international treaties that make an American president violating international agreements like that liable to or subject to criminal action within this country, let alone internationally?
TURLEY:It is a violation of both domestic and international law. But more importantly, torture is immoral under every major religion, that you cannot fight a moral war with immoral means. And if we‘re ready to embrace immoral means, if that‘s how we‘re going to fight this war, then we have lost. And no one will come to our aid. We will be alone.
And that‘s what happens when you become, in the view of many, an enemy to the rule of law. And we cannot afford that to happen.