Some twit of a Georgetown University and Brookings Institution foreign policy wonk is so scared of terrorists that he wants to toss away one of the real accomplishments of "western civilization," its condemnation of torture. Or perhaps it is not terrorists that have him shitting in his pants, but rather the upcoming movie "Rendition" which apparently exposes the brutality and folly of the U.S. practice of abducting people someone decides are "terrorism suspects" and shipping them off to be tortured by cooperative regimes. Why the movie might just shock the consciences of the sheep -- oops, people.
Writing in the Boston Globe, Daniel Byman fears this portrayal of "renditions" may lead to restrictions on US intelligence operatives:
Indeed, the peoples of the world might think that their countries ought to have some say about what happens to their citizens (whatever their local spooks may think), but Byman knows better. The U.S. is the world's imperial hegemon after all. The U.S. gets to make its own rules and call them law. Mr. Byman can't quite bring himself to say bluntly that the U.S. sends people it considers terrorists off to be tortured, but he doesn't bother to try to refute the testimony of people like Maher Arar, the Canadian tortured at U.S. behest in Syria who was eventually paid $12 million by his government as compensation. (Wonder if Canada sent the CIA the bill?)
Basically Byman takes it as a given that the United States should be able to torture at will, but should hedge its actions around with "legal" trappings.
To return to Lord Moulton quoted at the outset -- the world cannot, at present, enforce civilized standards on the United States. Our practice of torture places us outside "civilization." It is up to the people of the United States to enforce civilized behavior on our rulers. Or would we rather run hither and thither like scared rabbits?