US Embassies around the world are braced for a backlash following the publication of a report into CIA torture. The great strength of the USA is that such a report is being published - the UK would prevaricate endlessly until the geriatric judge heading the enquiry died of natural causes and then start over, the Kremlin would ban all publication and post officials to the Russian far east and the Chinese would simply announce that some wrongdoers had been shot. So well done, America.
However, I'm not so sure that this is proof of Churchill's adage that "America always does the right thing. Eventually". You see, we've been here before - with both the CIA's attempts to assassinate democratically elected leaders, and the CIA's creation and support of death squads / terrorist gangs in other nations. In both cases there was a lot of noise and light, democratic intervention, a lot of public hand-wringing and, eventually, the legalisation of such activities with appropriate democratic oversight. It's OK for the CIA to kill people so long as Congress are openly looking over their shoulder. From past performance, the next stage following publication of the torture report is the presentation of evidence that torture is absolutely necessary to ensure America's security, and then the creation of a framework and mechanism that permits official State torture under appropriate democratic oversight.
And this is possible because the US is not a signatory to any of the international treaties that would prevent it from doing so. The question is this;
Whilst the EU enjoys the moral luxury of acting without responsibility, the US cannot do so. If there is a genuine need for State sanctioned torture, then the US will do it. And EU nations tempted to sniff about this should consider just how much they actually benefit from the USA taking such responsibility.
The question really is, is there a need for torture? If it's absolutely necessary for our own security, can moral scruples ever outweigh such necessity?