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September 25, 2006

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Jonathan

This specific intent argument makes absolutely no sense because it would call into question whether ANYTHING could constitute torture under the Act

Assume you have the requisite specific intent to intentionally inflict the kind of harm described in the statute (that is, inflicting harm is your objective or goal). Presumably, you wouldn't then satisfy the second requirement, which is that the "purpose" (which I also read as "goal" or "objective") be to extract a confession. Your purpose is to inflict the pain, not extract the confession.

Thus, wanton cruelty -- the infliction of cruelty for cruety's own sake -- is permitted under this interpretation. So even if you copped to intending harm as your goal, you're still off the hook.

Conversely, if the purpose of your acting is to obtain the confession, then you couldn't have acted with the requisite mens rea to inflict the harm.

The only way this seems to work is if one can act with both goals in mind (inflicting the harm and obtaining the confession).

Obviously, the only sane way to read the statute is not in this preposterously convoluted way.

Carole J. Powell

What else is waterboarding intended to do? Does Dick Cheney really believe it isn't torture?

What will we do when those Americans trained to torture retire and start their careers in civilian law enforcement?

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