Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said on Tuesday some physical interrogation techniques can be used on a suspect in the event of an imminent threat, such as a hidden bomb about to blow up.
In such cases, "smacking someone in the face" could be justified, the outspoken Scalia told the BBC. "You can't come in smugly and with great self satisfaction and say 'Oh it's torture, and therefore it's no good.'"
Ah, see? When you adamantly refuse to debase yourself and your country by engaging in torture of people who aren't talking, you're not being a moral person. No, you're just being "smug". Because in Scalia's world, abstaining from hitting people who have done nothing--abstaining from hitting people because you think they might have information you want--isn't morality; morality is hating gay people. Something Scalia knows a lot about.
Scalia said that it was "extraordinary" to assume that the U.S. Constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" also applied to "so-called" torture.
"To begin with the Constitution ... is referring to punishment for crime. And, for example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime," he said in an interview with the Law in Action program on BBC Radio 4.
...WHAT THE FUCK!? You think that torture doesn't qualify as "cruel and unusual punishment"? Then for fuck's sake, what the hell would?
Or is it that you only think it would be unconstitutional if it were handed down as a punishment? So what you're basically saying is that as long as you don't charge these people with anything, it's perfectly permissible to torture them? What on earth is wrong with you?
"I suppose it's the same thing about so-called torture. Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the Constitution?" he asked.
Look, Scalia--24 is a television program. It is not real. The "ticking time bomb" scenario is such a patent absurdity that it is impossible to take seriously anyone who brings it up as a legitimate excuse for torture. Don't you dare tell us that you're willing to torture people to save lives. You're willing to torture people because you're a sadistic monster.
"It would be absurd to say you couldn't do that. And once you acknowledge that, we're into a different game" Scalia said. "How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?"
No! It is absurd to say that you can do that! Torture is simply not permissible. Forcing testimony from suspects is not permissible. Beating confessions from people is not permissible. Why is this a subject that you have problems with?
[Edit] Oh, hell, it's even worse than I thought. The article I read omitted part of what Scalia considered obviously permissible:
"It seems to me you have to say, as unlikely as that is, it would be absurd to say you couldn't, I don't know, stick something under the fingernail, smack him in the face. It would be absurd to say you couldn't do that," Scalia said in an interview aired Tuesday.
I... it just... what the hell is wrong with this man? He approves of denailing? What's he going to allow next? Knee-capping?
Think Progress has audio and a partial transcript.