Will Jay Severin now finally shut up about torture?

For years we’ve been hearing Jay Severin deny that anyone in US custody – whether in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, or anywhere else – has ever been tortured. (He has compared the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib to a “panty raid.”) He has repeatedly challenged listeners to document a single instance of torture. I have refrained from taking the bait, assuming that he has a stack of five or six note cards stashed somewhere that will provide rhetorical shields against any caller’s gambits.

Now, according to Bob Woodward, a Bush administration official has come to the conclusion that, with regard to at least one prisoner, “we tortured [him]…. His treatment met the legal definition of torture.”

If confronted with this example, I imagine Severin will argue that the specific interrogation techniques used do not amount to torture according to some definition that Severin has found or created. I would argue that a legal interpretation offered by “a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense” carries more weight that than of a radio talk-show host.

So let’s put that “we’ve never tortured anybody” nonsense back on the shelf, Jay, shall we?

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