Amy Davidson recoils:

What do people in our government think it means to say that torture is illegal? Is it like violating one of those old statutes that you hear about, still on the books because no one’s bothered to repeal them, forbidding domino-playing on Sundays? Or do they think it’s more like having to call a late-night bar a club and pay an initiation fee of two drinks, or the idea that you can cheat on your taxes as long as an accountant fills out the forms? Something like that seems to be the view of one of the C.I.A.’s lawyers, Daniel Pines. The Washington Post has a piece on a law-journal article he wrote (reflecting, he said, his personal views; but still). There are American and international laws against torturelaws that also obligate us to stop it when we see itand yet, in Pines’s view, “there are virtually no legal restrictions” on kidnapping a person, handing him to a torturer, and then waiting outside and receiving the information, as long as the torture chamber is abroad and the torturer is not an American ...

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