The torture discussion back in 2001

Recently of course, because of the ‘torture memos’, the topic is all over the papers and cable ‘news’ programs. It’s brought back to mind a discussion that was raging hot and heavy, starting back in 2001, about the idea of allowing the issuance of ‘Torture Warrants‘.

Alan Dershowitz, famous Harvard Law Professor first espoused that in 2001 (as best I can determine) in this article in the LA Times. If you search google you will see lots of hits on the topic, starting then leading up to today.

This is from the New York Times:

“Torture warrants, Dershowitz insists, are one way to shine law’s light on this darkness, especially if one believes there are times when torture should be permitted. Many will be horrified that Dershowitz even allows himself to think such thoughts. But for those willing to think the unthinkable, a brief but thoughtful discussion of the entire torture question including Dershowitz’s torture warrants, written by Belinda Cooper, a specialist on human rights with a position at the World Policy Institute, can be found here.

Even those who believe in an absolute prohibition against torture would be well advised to ponder the legal paradigm shift that Dershowitz says has occurred and that so worries him. If torture is inevitably going to take place in a preventive state, should we be content to allow it to exist outside the law? At the end of his new book, Dershowitz warns: “We need to develop a jurisprudence for the emerging preventive state. … Black holes in the law are anathema to democracy, accountability, human rights and the rule of law.”

The idea of torture warrants sounds crazy on first or second blush, but I do see the point he’s making. Technorati Tags: , , ,

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