What is torture? The GOP doesn't get it

The Senate floor debate on Al Gonzales is underway and Senator Specter (R-PA) just rattled off a series of quotes from Gonzales's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee: a laundry list of mea culpas from the attorney general designate like, "I condemn the use of torture," and, "We do not believe in torture."

Of course he condemns "torture"! His definition of torture. The administration's working definition is vastly different from the world's definition.

The Bybee Memorandum (pdf) established the White House's functional definition:

"Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture under Section 2340, it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g. lasting for months or even years."

Any torture (the world's definition) beyond that is fair game according to these criminals.

The Presidential Directive of February 2002, signed by Mr. Bush, forbids torture EXCEPT...

" the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva."

This is a major loophole. No "torture" (White House definition) except when militarily necessary, is what this says. And "principles" of Geneva sounds like, "Use Geneva as a rule of thumb, but there's some wiggle room -- wink, wink."

It's unfathomable that the Republican senators can so easily turn a blind eye to the distinction between the White House's non-reality-based definition and the actual, real world definition.

An asterix needs to be added to the record next to every instance in which the Republicans use the word "torture". In the footnotes, the asterix would be clarified like so:

* Wink, wink.