According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, which authored the memos, legal approval to use waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other abusive techniques pivoted on the existence of a “system of medical and psychological monitoring” of interrogations. Medical and psychological personnel were assigned to monitor interrogations and intervene to ensure that interrogators didn’t cause “serious or permanent harm” and thus violate the U.S. federal statute against torture.And, after all, clinicians have never gone along with infamy before.
The reasoning sounds almost circular. As one memo, from May 2005, put it: “The close monitoring of each detainee for any signs that he is at risk of experiencing severe physical pain reinforces the conclusion that the combined use of interrogation techniques is not intended to inflict such pain.”
In other words, as long as medically trained personnel were present and approved of the techniques being used, it was not torture.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The Bush Administration was willing to justify torture as long as a physician was present: