Is the Libyan war legal? Was bin Laden's killing legal? Were those "enhanced interrogation techniques" legal? These questions are irrelevant. In terms of "foreign policy," and "national security," the U.S. is now a post-legal society.
The political repercussions of using or endorsing torture are profound. As the U.S. learned -- or should have learned -- during the Abu Ghraib fallout, political trust and respect are difficult to earn and easy to lose.
Torture debases the persons tortured, as well as the torturers, and it violates the two truths that are common to most people of faith: every human being is created in God's image and we should love our neighbors as ourselves.
Even if the newly released footage of Bin al shibh's interrogation in Morocco shows largely benign interrogations, we shouldn't forget that many of the videotapes that the CIA destroyed in 2005 documented serious abuse.
Those politicians and pundits who denounce the decision to Mirandize Mr. Shazhad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, do a disservice to the men and women in law enforcement who every day try their best to protect us.
Yes, in this case, it appears that we have caught the perpetrator red-handed. The evidence of his guilt is overwhelming, so the argument for treating him differently has some visceral appeal. But let's test it by the facts of this very case.
Arabs have developed a healthy skepticism about the ability or desire of U.S. presidents to deliver on promises to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace, but they are willing to believe that the U.S. can change direction.
There are two areas in particular where interrogators would benefit from improvement. The first is in adapting non-coercive criminal interrogation techniques. The second is the realm of cultural knowledge.