Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Is the Rack torture?

Courtesy of philosopher Gerald Dworkin (UC Davis), here are the answers of some eminent experts:

Statements by various individuals as to whether the Rack is torture.

Mukasey: I haven’t been read into the details of the Rack, and I
understand that these details are classified. I am firmly opposed to
torture, torture is illegal, but I do not know whether the Rack is
torture. To comment further would be to expose sincere and loyal
Inquisitors to the possibility of retro-active condemnation.

Bush: I am not going to give aid to our enemies by disclosing details of
our interrogation techniques. But if we do expose detainees to the Rack
it is not torture, because we do not torture.

Cheney: A little stretching never hurt anybody. I understand it’s
actually recommended before exercising.

John Yoo: It is well established that torture involves inflicting pain
equivalent to that of the pain accompanying serious physical injury,
such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. No
one stretched on the Rack has ever suffered fromkidney, lung, or spleen
failure nor, to the best of my recollection, has died. As to impairment
of bodily function, it would be a stretch to include deformed limbs
under this heading.

David Addington: Congress may no more regulate the president's ability
to use the Rack as an interrogation technique than it may regulate his
ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield. Decisions about
whether to stretch or not require the unity in purpose and energy in
action that characterize the presidency rather than Congress.

Gonzalez: I cannot recall what the Rack was. Nor do I have any
recollection about whether I ever discussed it with the President. The
testimony of some that they heard me mention the Rack in a meeting on
March 23rd -- a meeting which I do not remember --may have been a
confusion of Rack with Iraq.

Daniel Levin: I cannot say since I have never been exposed to the Rack.
I do have an appointment next Friday for a 50 minute session in Seville.

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Brian Leiter posts Gerard Dworkin's Is the Rack Torture? It's a fine bit of satire, and a useful corrective to the pathological agnosticism about waterboarding that continues to be espoused by grown up conservatives. (Strangely, the more they know, the [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 4, 2007 6:51:53 PM