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Banning What Wasn’t Being Done

Banning torture makes good headlines. But what is the point if it wasn’t being done anyway? It seems to me this is another case of trying to take the moral high ground, not by doing anything different or better, but by subtly suggesting that others were doing something bad that you needed to stop. My understanding is that for all the fuss about torture, water-boarding had only been used three times, and not at all since 2003.

Of course that still begs the question about when discomfort and embarrassment become torture, and under what circumstances making someone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed in order to obtain information might be acceptable. Comments welcome.