Too bad he doesn't have the authority (no one does, actually) but whatever.
A week or so ago, I had the good fortune to spend some time with Professor Annette Förster, a Rooney International Visiting Scholar at RMU and international scholar on torture. Over eggs and homefries, we talked mostly about torture and at one point, why the coffee globes in restaurants are different colors.
But that's completely besides the point.
This is the point.
Professor Förster will be giving a lecture at 2:30 today at RMU titled "Debating Torture in Democracies" in the RISE Center Theater in Scaife Hall.
From The Minuteman:
Terrorist attacks in diverse Western democracies raised scientific discussions on the legitimacy of torture with a focus on “ticking bomb” scenarios. The lecture systematizes the normative discussion on torture in democracies with a focus on the question of its legitimacy and legality. Can torture ever be a legitimate means of state policy? And if so, should it be legal? Or do those scenarios belong to a state of emergency framework that transcends the normal limits of state power drawn by constitutional democracies?She's an intensely interesting scholar. For example, as part of our discussion, she went into why the Bush era concept of "unlawful combatant" was such a dangerous one. If my memory serves, she said that the treatment of enemy combatants (soldiers in uniform, and so on) is clearly spelled out in international treaties, as is the treatment of non-combatants (non-combat civilians and so on). However with a new definition of a new type of combatant, the so-called unlawful combatant, various regimes could impose a new set of rules over these combatants that aren't covered under either set of treaties.
Hence the Bush era torture memos.
If you can get over to RMU today, catch the discussion, you'll be thinking about it for a long time afterwards.