As we know, the United States of America does not torture people. George Bush said we didn't, and then Barack Obama officially ended it with an executive order, mostly, and then last fall the Senate released its report on all the torture that didn't happen, and on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted to outlaw torture, which America has never done, but now we'll really not do it ever again. Unless we decide we need to, maybe. But we almost certainly won't, because we never have. Even though it works, and we like it!

John McCain, who is not a big fan of torture though we can't remember why, led the effort to add an amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that would "forbid the use of torture by any agent of the U.S. government and standardize certain noncoercive interrogation methods across the government’s military and intelligence arms."

Dianne Feinstein, who led the effort to release the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report last fall, was pleased by the vote:

“It really is a great day, because it really does mean never again,” Feinstein said leaving the chamber Tuesday, flanked by several committee staffers who helped compile the report. “It was a great moment for me, yes, and for us.”

The amendment banning torture passed 78-21; to see how your Sentatecritters voted, a list is available here. Among the We'd Like To Continue Torturing Because We're Amoral Asshole Caucus were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul both voted for the amendment, and Marco Rubio was not present for the vote.

So hooray! Now interrogations of prisoners will have to comply with the non-torture-using methods outlined in the Army Field Manual, which have the added benefit of actually working, although they may not be as emotionally satisfying to sadists.

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Incidentally, the Senate's Torture Report is no longer available on the Senate Intelligence Committee's website. Instead of a "file not found" message, the page should just say "under new management." (Copies of the report are still available, of course; for online reading, there's the New York Times site, or you can download your own PDF copy here.)

So hooray! No more waterboarding! No more "rectal feeding"! No more naked body slams against cell walls, except among consenting adults! We'll still bomb the shit out of whatever we want and kill whoever we want with robotic death machines, but at least we've rejoined the civilized world on torture, until the next crisis, of course.

And somewhere in his lair under an extinct volcano, we're pretty sure we hear Dick Cheney softly snarling to himself.

[The Hill / HuffPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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