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Should we prosecute torture as a war crime?

 
 
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 07:55 am
So, now that it's pretty clear that torture was authorized at the highest levels and it was more than a few bad apples, and since we've prosecuted some of those "bad apples" for essentially following orders, should we now prosecute the people who authorized torture? If we don't prosecute, are other countries justified in prosecuting them in international courts?
 
View best answer, chosen by FreeDuck
joefromchicago
  Selected Answer
 
  6  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:36 am
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck wrote:

So, now that it's pretty clear that torture was authorized at the highest levels and it was more than a few bad apples, and since we've prosecuted some of those "bad apples" for essentially following orders, should we now prosecute the people who authorized torture?

It's not necessary to charge Americans accused of torture with war crimes, since torture is already against the law, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

FreeDuck wrote:
If we don't prosecute, are other countries justified in prosecuting them in international courts?

If a country that is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture apprehends an American accused of torture in its jurisdiction, it is obligated either to extradite that person or try him in its own courts. Or, in other words, John Yoo shouldn't be planning any overseas vacations any time soon.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:44 am
@joefromchicago,

It is well-nigh impossible to get a US citizen extradited to another country for trial.

Maybe that will change, in the light of recent events.

I think (in answer to the question) that those sanctioning, commissioning, or committing torture should be tried. But that's a lot of people.
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:10 am
@FreeDuck,
If it will make you feel better, just arrest Bush and hang him, just like the Iraqis did to Hussein. Rolling Eyes
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:11 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

It's not necessary to charge Americans accused of torture with war crimes, since torture is already against the law, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Would this apply to the people who ordered it or just the ones who committed it? I'm eying the (c) Conspiracy as an option but not sure.
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:12 am
@Woiyo9,
Woiyo9 wrote:

If it will make you feel better, just arrest Bush and hang him, just like the Iraqis did to Hussein. Rolling Eyes

Some accountability would make me feel better. Or we could just sweep it under rug and wait for the next pro-torture administration to dig up the old memos and use the fact that no-0ne was prosecuted as precedent for their actions.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:31 am
@McTag,
McTag wrote:


It is well-nigh impossible to get a US citizen extradited to another country for trial.

Americans wouldn't be extradited to another country, except under some specific circumstances (e.g. if the victim were a citizen of Country X, then Country X could charge the Americans with torture in its own courts and ask for extradition). Instead, if an American were travelling in Country X, a signatory to the UN Convention, then Country X could apprehend that American and either extradite him back to the US for prosecution or try him in its own courts.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:32 am
@Woiyo9,
Woiyo9 wrote:

If it will make you feel better, just arrest Bush and hang him, just like the Iraqis did to Hussein. Rolling Eyes

Why yes, that would make me feel better.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:35 am
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck wrote:

joefromchicago wrote:

It's not necessary to charge Americans accused of torture with war crimes, since torture is already against the law, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Would this apply to the people who ordered it or just the ones who committed it? I'm eying the (c) Conspiracy as an option but not sure.

I don't know. That would depend on how the courts interpret the statute. My guess is that someone who ordered the torture would also be liable under the law, either as an accessory, a co-conspirator, or a principal.
0 Replies
 
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 12:21 pm
@joefromchicago,
Then that makes you as guilty as the people you accuse.

Now we know your also a hypocrite
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 12:47 pm
@Woiyo9,
Woiyo9 wrote:

Then that makes you as guilty as the people you accuse.

How so?
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 12:48 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
Re: McTag (Post 3644020)
McTag wrote:


It is well-nigh impossible to get a US citizen extradited to another country for trial.
Americans wouldn't be extradited to another country, except under some specific circumstances (e.g. if the victim were a citizen of Country X, then Country X could charge the Americans with torture in its own courts and ask for extradition). Instead, if an American were travelling in Country X, a signatory to the UN Convention, then Country X could apprehend that American and either extradite him back to the US for prosecution or try him in its own courts.


How the hell do you do these quote-within-quote texts? Do you have to write all the syntax out yourself?

Anyway,
Quote:
e.g. if the victim were a citizen of Country X, then Country X could charge the Americans with torture in its own courts and ask for extradition).
it is exactly under these circumstances that you can't get a US citizen extradited. It doesn't happen. The US courts do not accept the evidence. They somehow put themselves above other people's laws.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 12:53 pm
@McTag,
McTag wrote:

Quote:
Re: McTag (Post 3644020)
McTag wrote:


It is well-nigh impossible to get a US citizen extradited to another country for trial.
Americans wouldn't be extradited to another country, except under some specific circumstances (e.g. if the victim were a citizen of Country X, then Country X could charge the Americans with torture in its own courts and ask for extradition). Instead, if an American were travelling in Country X, a signatory to the UN Convention, then Country X could apprehend that American and either extradite him back to the US for prosecution or try him in its own courts.


How the hell do you do these quote-within-quote texts? Do you have to write all the syntax out yourself?

I just add a few BBCode markers here and there. A little extra work, but the gratification is immense.

McTag wrote:
Anyway,
Quote:
e.g. if the victim were a citizen of Country X, then Country X could charge the Americans with torture in its own courts and ask for extradition).
it is exactly under these circumstances that you can't get a US citizen extradited. It doesn't happen. The US courts do not accept the evidence. They somehow put themselves above other people's laws.

No doubt, that has always been a problem. But America's torture victims come mostly from places that won't be prosecuting American torturers any time soon (Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Australia, etc.), so it's probably a non-issue.
0 Replies
 
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 01:06 pm
@joefromchicago,
If you have to ask, you are to dumb to understand anyway. Rolling Eyes
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 01:07 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
It is well-nigh impossible to get a US citizen extradited to another country for trial.


Your evidence for this is?

Quote:
Maybe that will change, in the light of recent events.


What events would those be?

Quote:
I think (in answer to the question) that those sanctioning, commissioning, or committing torture should be tried. But that's a lot of people.


I agree, both that that would be appropriate, and that it would be a lot of people. However, i doubt that it would be easily done. Recently, i have heard an interview of the Brigadier who lost her job and was demoted to Colonel for the hijinks at Abu Graib, and an interview with the author of the "interrogation" policies used by the Bush administration. The Colonel was very bitter, and expatiated at length on just how many higher ranking officers knew about what was going on, in many cases when she didn't know herself, and how intelligence operatives, who were often not identified by name or agency, would show up at the prison in her absence to interrogate prisoners and to instruct her personnel in how they should and could get away with acting. Her contention was that many, many higher ranking officers up to and including the commander of Southern Command and his staff, as well as members of the administration, were aware of what was going on, but always maintained a position of "plausible deniability" and committing nothing to writing.

The policy wonk as an even more entertaining piece of work. It was almost impossible to get a verb out of him, though the interviewer was an aggressive and veteran journalist. He constantly said in so many words that documents which apparently condone torture were in fact nothing but thought exercises, and were often released as examples of what would not be tolerated, but that those who wished to slander the administration had released them without covering memoranda which explained this. When challenged about why said covering memoranda had not been produced by defenders of the administration, he attempted to change the subject, and failing that, went on the attack, accusing the interviewer of being a member of the conspiracy operating to defame Bush and the members of the administration, and then terminated the interview with a few choice contemptuous remarks.

I suspect that all or nearly all of the responsible parties have their backsides well covered. When i was in the Army more than 30 years ago, questioning the actions of officers would get you in a hell of a lot of trouble right quick, and questioning the actions of non-commissioned offers would get you a shrug or a wink, and "CYA." CYA means cover your ass--and every career soldier, sailor, airman or Marine does that with a competence they don't necessarily show in the performance of their duties.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 01:08 pm
@Woiyo9,
Oh, I see. You're just too much of a chickenshit to back up your accusation.

It's what I expect of you. Carry on.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 01:08 pm
@Woiyo9,
And you are too stupid to spell "too" correctly. No surprise there, but a good deal of ironic humor.
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 06:01 pm
@FreeDuck,
Quote:
Some accountability would make me feel better. Or we could just sweep it under rug and wait for the next pro-torture administration to dig up the old memos and use the fact that no-0ne was prosecuted as precedent for their actions.


If thats the precedent you want to use, then that precedent goes back to before WW2.
The US has violated the Geneva Convention and committed war crimes at least as far back as WW2, so if nobody was prosecuted then, why should anyone be prosecuted now?
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 07:32 am
@joefromchicago,
No. Just not in the mood to educate you and the rest of the the unwilling.

Woiyo9
 
  0  
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 07:32 am
@Setanta,
**** you!
 

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