Is Torture Legal?

With the capture this weekend of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, FBI sources are salivating over the information they’ll glean from the detritus in his apartment. A Wall Street Journal op-ed argued that the Bush administration is right to treat him as an “unlawful combatant,” which means he won’t enjoy the protections accorded POWs and can be interrogated “vigorously” and with “all appropriate pressure.” So, does that mean the United States can torture him? In 2001, Dahlia Lithwick explained: “The question of whether or not torture is ‘legal’ is one issue. The answer is: It isn’t. The more relevant question is whether U.S. courts would admit evidence procured via torture (it might) or prosecute an American for torture (it might).”