From DemocracyNow!, specifcally this story, we get the charmingly humble statement from Justice Antonin Scalia I used as this post’s title.
What is his view? Torture is not punishment so it is not actually prohibited by the US constitution‘s eigth ammendment, forbidding the infliction of “cruel and unusual punishment“.
It is fascinating and alarming to see the intellectual gymnastics amoral people go through to deny plain and simple reality. Watch the clip here (requires RealPlayer) or go to Democracy Now’s April 29th broadcast, around minute 12.
And by the way, the answer to his question “what is it punishment for?”, torture is punishment for not cooperating.
Looking a bit at the context of the 8th Ammendment, namely it is all about due process and rights of the accused etc., it may be true that the ban on cruelty is only for those who have been given due process. Since the US is generally only torturing those it has also denied due process, Scalia can justify his position this way!
And of course the ultimate constitutional escape route is to simply define a “suspected terrorist” as not a person, then all those pesky laws go away at once.