Oh, for the halcyon days when the US Government at least said that it did not assassinate people and that it viewed torture as an abomination.
The assassination thing went out the window after 9/11, when the US sent killer flying robots (excuse me -- unmanned drones) to try to take out Bin Laden and Saddam. Now, with the Senate passing (90-9) an anti-torture bill, sponsored by John McCain (who, unfortunately, knows about torture, since he was tortured as a POW), Dick Cheney (who as far as I know hasn't been tortured or been a POW, but who got arrested a few times in his twenties) went in and asked that the CIA be exempted from the bill. Further, the White House (excuse me -- Cheney, via Bush) is threatening to veto the bill, even as Bush protests that the US doesn't torture anyone.
Now, it seems to me that banning torture is a pretty good idea, and the White House asking for the right to torture is a pretty bad one, for various reasons:
-- The nations that torture folks as a policy are usually the ones that the US Government boycotts (or tries to depose).
-- Torture is morally wrong.
-- State-sponsored, state-conducted, and even state-condoned torture does not make the US a shining example that other nations want to emulate.
-- Torture as a means of getting information seems based on the questionable premise that if you hurt someone, he will tell you the truth (as opposed to telling you whatever he thinks you want to hear, so that you'll stop hurting him).
-- If we abandon the Geneva Convention and torture "enemy combatants," we put Americans -- including military personnel -- in greater danger of the same treatment if captured.