We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.
Presumably, complying with American and international law are some of the ideals that we fight to defend.
Torture is a violation of both international and American law. Specifically, the Geneva Convention makes it illegal to inflict mental or physical torture or inhuman treatment.
As I pointed out in 2005:
The War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. 2441, makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment.Have Things Changed Under the Obama Administration?
The statute applies not only to those who carry out the acts, but also to those who ORDER IT, know about it, or fail to take steps to stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty.
Indeed, even the lawyers and other people who aided in the effort may be war criminals; see also this article , this one, and this press release.
You may assume that things have changed after President Obama was sworn in.
However, the Obama Department of Justice is trying to protect torture memo writer John Yoo. As constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley notes:
The president literally has gotten onto a plane this evening to go to Norway to accept the Nobel Prize, while his Justice Department is effectively gutting a major part of Nuremberg.
The Obama administration is arguing not only that they shouldn't be prosecuted, but it's now saying that you shouldn't even be able to sue them civilly .... It's an international disgrace.