What is the world to make of the fact that the United States relies on artifice and technicality to avoid the plain meaning and import of the Geneva Conventions, and therefore appears willing to countenance situations like this one?
Prosecutor: Did you know that what you were doing to the detainee would cause him severe physical pain?
Defendant: Yes sir.
Prosecutor: Did you know it would permanently disfigure him?
Prosecutor: Did you know it would prevent him from being able to walk?
Prosecutor: And were you doing it for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession?
Prosecutor: Isn’t that torture?
Defendant: No sir. Read the statute. I knew those harms would occur, but I did not specifically intend any of them. Causing those harms was not my conscious objective.
Prof. John Mikhail, no Georgetown Law Faculty Blog