|The "Golden Rule"|
Torture is illegal. Despite this fact, during the past several years, our government has waterboarded detainees, and subjected them to long periods of sleep deprivation, extremes of heat and cool, sensory deprivation, and prolonged isolation. Further, a recent International Committee of the Red Cross report claims that interrogators placed plastic around the necks of some detainees and then slammed them into a wall. The evidence suggests that these abuses were authorized by the top levels of our government. Government officials misinterpreted the laws on torture as allowing these techniques. We must ensure that the laws against torture are never again misinterpreted. In order to do this, Congress should pass legislation requiring that the President publicly affirm that each and every interrogation technique authorized for use by American interrogators follows the “golden rule” – i.e. that each technique would be both legal and moral to use against captured Americans.
Legislating the “golden rule” would not make legal any interrogation technique that is currently illegal – nor would it ban any technique that is allowed under a good faith interpretation of current law. It would, however, make it much more politically difficult for any future Administration to misinterpret the law as allowing the use of torture.