Torture is illegal in all circumstances. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty the United States ratified which makes it part of U.S. law, states unequivocally: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
The prohibition of torture is absolute and unequivocal. Torture is never lawful.
Yet despite copious evidence of widespread torture and abuse during the Bush administration, and the Constitution's mandate that the President enforce the laws, President Obama refuses to hold the Bush officials and lawyers accountable for their law breaking.
Granting impunity to the torturers combined with propaganda films like Zero Dark Thirty, which may well win multiple Oscars, dilutes any meaningful public opposition to our government's cruel interrogation techniques.
Armed with full and accurate information, we must engage in an honest discourse about torture and abuse, and hold those who commit those illegal acts fully accountable.