Marty Lederman at Balkinization warns us to Beware the "Augmented" McCain Amendment. The McCain Amendment is the one clarifying that the United States doesn't permit torture. Senator Ted "fucking moron" Stevens is planning to water it down by specifically exempting the CIA from rules banning "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." As Jack says, this would be a step backwards. Currently, there's a sort of grey area that White House Counsel (now Attorney General) Alberto Gonzales, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld and their subordinates carved out and exploited. McCain's amendment basically restates existing rules governing the armed forces and establishes that anyone working for the US or on our behalf is bound by those rules. As it is, that all hangs in this fuzzy area where torture isn't really allowed, but it's not clear that it's explicitly forbidden, or whose responsibility it is.
Stevens would clarify the situation by allowing torture, McCain by forbidding it.
I know which makes more sense to me.
See also this nice roundup of writing about
the ways in which torture was institutionalized by the Bush administration, and Slate's Taxonomy of Torture.
Then make sure Senator Roberts knows you won't accept his excuses if he defends torture again.
"She Talks to Angels" by The Black Crowes from the album Shake Your Money Maker (1998, 5:29).