Torture is wrong and the Americans have pledged to end it once and for all. Unsurprisingly, Trump hasn’t gotten the memo. Over the past week he’s unleashed a barrage of tweets that seek to legally and morally justify and conceal how agents of the state in the past have employed torture.
The latest involves his administration’s attempts to revise the definition of torture under the legal lexicon of the Geneva Conventions. This week an ominous letter appeared on the desk of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The letter purported to provide support for the changes the administration was making in their legal treatment of torture, including the effort to retroactively redefine torture under international law.
A quick look back at what happened with the torture issue during the Obama administration may shed some light on what’s in store for us now.
The critics didn’t take the administration lying down and instead launched a fierce and vociferous political and legal fight against these new demands for torture to exist. And the Obama administration carried this fight to an end by ensuring that the Torture Report to Congress, released in late 2014, was unambiguous in its refusal to treat torture as legal.
So as we watch a weak, awful president try to keep his promises to bring the United States back to its darkest days under the heel of the elites, we can be reasonably sure that the teetering decisions Trump makes will affect the lives of the American people and, in the process, the lives of people all over the world, as well. And we can be equally confident that resistance movements and decision-makers in Congress will continue to take a principled stand against this brutality.