point-counterpoint

by Hugh

Press conference question:

Q: What’s your definition of the word “torture.”
The President: Of what?
Q: The word “torture.” What’s your definition?
The President: That’s defined in U.S. law and we don’t torture.
Q: Can you give me your version of it, sir?
The President: Whatever the law says.

Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C, Section 2340, of the U.S. Code says:

(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under
the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical
or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering
incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his
custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged
mental harm caused by or resulting from –
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of
severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened
administration or application, of mind-altering substances or
other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly
the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be
subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the
administration or application of mind-altering substances or
other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly
the senses or personality;

(see NYTimes)