Torture, Geneva Conventions, and the Moral High Ground

Does the Geneva Conventions and International Law apply when we are at war with an organization (al Qaeda) that does not recognize either [Mounting Calls for Punishment in Firestorm Over CIA "Torture" Memos, usnews.com]?

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Does the Geneva Conventions and International Law apply when we are at war with an organization (al Qaeda) that does not recognize either [Mounting Calls for Punishment in Firestorm Over CIA "Torture" Memos, usnews.com]? Does any legal framework to prosecute in fact exist? If the "enhanced interrogation techniques" did yield actionable intelligence and thwarted plans for a September 11 encore, was it worth the cost of the United States giving up its "moral high ground"? Each of these is a difficult question that could, should, and will be debated by legal minds for years. There is little to be accomplished by going on a witch hunt. Comparing this conflict to and using the same prosecution methodology as World War II or any other war between two governments is nonsensical.

Comment by Mike H. of CO

Our government and our people are duty bound, both morally and legally, to investigate and prosecute acts of torture. No person, or position, is above the law. Unless we follow this simple principle, we as a nation are doomed. This nation is being tested. We must make the hard choices and follow the law.

Comment by Florida Sever of AK

While I condemn torture in all forms, I say there should be a definite move to protect people who acted under orders. Go to the top of the command chain, because that's where the legal implications start. Prosecuting people after laws change is not usually allowed, or morally condoned, as it is seen as "ex post facto" punishment. However, this scenario involves ambiguous legal definitions: again understood by the top, and only followed by the bottom of the command chain.

Comment by Tim L. of NY

Quit trying to say the ends justify the means. Torture is against international law. It's against the Geneva Conventions. We signed those documents. Torture is morally wrong. You can never justify torture based upon results. Otherwise, I can mistreat you in order to get my son into an Ivy League school, or to get a higher paying job. Sorry, we are either a nation of morals, or we are a nation of evil-doers. What's it going to be?

Comment by Helen Hill of CA

The Democrats are so hell bent on embarrassing Bush and Cheney that they will stop at nothing (including dismantling our intelligence/military) by having a witch hunt. There were Democrats in the briefings (Nancy Pelosi, for sure), but now they claim ignorance. By paralyzing and handicapping our military and intelligence agencies, we are basically waving the white flag of surrender. We are going to be attacked again, but al Qaeda is just waiting to make it bigger. That is their goal: to kill as many infidels as possible.

Comment by Stephen Tharp of VT

The ends do not justify the means. We, the United States, do not torture because we're better than the terrorists. That's what makes us different. If the terrorists torture people, and the United States tortures people, how are we any different? Think about that. Do you honestly want to fight and die for a country that tortures people? I wouldn't. Torture is not one of the ideals I was raised to admire about America. It's amazing how the Bush administration managed to harm the United States in a way that no foreign enemy has been able to do since the birth of our nation.

Comment by Brent Duran of KS

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