So what is our policy on torture? During the Bush years, we now know, we did it. We tortured -- extended exertions produced extreme anguish. We laid out meticulous procedures for how to do this. Inflicting physical suffering was part of our official interrogation trade craft. While theoretically we were a nation that opposed torture in any form, this was not true at all. We condoned it, and pursued its development. Even when some parts of the government became uncomfortable with these methods, other parts continued it, further refining the effectiveness -- that would be the excruciation -- of our techniques.
Now, perhaps we've always done it, always been a nation that, by any other name, pulled out people's fingernails. It was just secret. We said we didn't do it -- because, well, no one wanted to know the truth -- and then did it anyway. Okay, now it's been laid bare.
So what do we do now? Seriously? How far do we go? What's the policy, since we know we have torture policies.
In the American legal and bureaucratic mind, torture is not binary. We inflict physical suffering to get information or we don't, is not quite how it works. Rather, there appears to be a range of physical abuse that is useful but that can be described as less than torture.
So what is it? What's allowed?
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