They Did Authorize Torture, But…

Investigation into the Office of Legal Counsel’s Memoranda Concerning Issues Relating to the Central Intelligence Agency’s Use of ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’ on Suspected Terrorists

a report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, Department of Justice
289 pp. (July 29, 2009; released February 19, 2010)

Memorandum for the Attorney General

by Deputy Attorney General David Margolis
69 pp. (January 5, 2010; released February 19, 2010)

Yoo and Bybee are in some sense easy targets. Their memos were the first to be written, and they employed less polished rhetoric than those that followed years later. But surely what was wrong, at bottom, was the legal approval of conduct that, under any reasonable understanding of the terms, amounted to torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, all of which the United States has solemnly committed to abjure.

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US Crimes Without Punishment May 27, 2010