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Thread: Extraordinary Rendition

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Extraordinary Rendition

    The Council of Europe commssioned an investigation into this American polocy and practice. The Swiss author's report was published this week, 72 pages and lots of 'gems' within - notably it was a NATO endorsed policy.

    http://assembly.coe.int/CommitteeDoc..._NoEmbargo.pdf

    A report undoubtedly not appreciated by the Polish and Rumanian governments, as they each hosted detention facilities.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    4. The rendition, abduction and detention of terrorist suspects have always taken place outside the territory of the United States, where such actions would no doubt have been ruled unlawful and unconstitutional. Obviously, these actions are also unacceptable under the laws of European countries, who nonetheless tolerated them or colluded actively in carrying them out. This export of illegal activities overseas is all the more shocking in that it shows fundamental contempt for the countries on whose territories it was decided to commit the relevant acts. The fact that the measures only apply to non-American citizens is just as disturbing: it reflects a kind of “legal apartheid” and an exaggerated sense of superiority. Once again, the blame does not lie solely with the Americans but also, above all, with European political leaders who have knowingly acquiesced in this state of affairs.


    Lets say I agree with the above statement. Would I be incorrect in assuming that the author is taking a slap at European bureaucrats? In essence, anyone with a need to know, would be violating some sort of OPSEC to argue against anything sensitive within this study. Describing, "a kind of 'legal apartheid'" would be just an opinion and an oxymoron that cannot exist. It is either legal or illegal. If it is "a kind of legal...", than it must be legal. And what exactly is an, "exaggerated sense of superiority" since the author added that statement to the oxymoron? To view the statement realistically as truth would actually be erroneously describing insecurity of one's authority, which would be nearly impossible for multiple free allied nations to get off the ground. Just how many people suffering from insecurity of authority does it take to successfully fulfill the author's accusations? For those of us without a need to know this study would be a nicely wrapped package for us to agree or disagree with the nature of the study. Nothing more and nothing less. The study is a locution producing an incongruous effect on those of us that may disagree with it and a warm fuzzy feeling for those of us that do agree with it. Which part of the previous sentence sounds more logical with less nonsense?
    Last edited by Culpeper; 06-10-2007 at 04:41 AM.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
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    UK Parliament Security and Intelligence Committee, 28 Jun 07: Rendition
    ....What the rendition programme has shown is that in what it refers to as “the war on terror” the U.S. will take whatever action it deems necessary, within U.S. law, to protect its national security from those it considers to pose a serious threat. Although the U.S. may take note of UK protests and concerns, this does not appear materially to affect its strategy on rendition.

    It is to the credit of our Agencies that they have now managed to adapt their procedures to work round these problems and maintain the exchange of intelligence that is so critical to UK security.

    The Committee notes that the UK Agencies now have a policy in place to minimise the risk of their actions inadvertently leading to renditions, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (CIDT). Where it is known that the consequences of dealing with a foreign liaison service will include torture or CIDT, the operation will not be authorised.....

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    Council Member Dominique R. Poirier's Avatar
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    I post this comment just in order to express a personal opinion since it is interesting to know, I believe, the personal point of view of readers entertaining some familiarity with the realm of intelligence and its corollary activities and practices.

    What is commonly known as “extraordinary rendition” never chocked me since I believe that this kind of operation is unlikely to take place coincidentally or be mistakenly ordered. If someone takes part in terrorist activities leading inescapably to violence against civilians and other innocents, then he must be prepared for the unpleasant and the unexpected.

    I equally believe that most people are not that sincerely choked with it; unless they indulge a bit too much in self-delusion in their eagerness to be politically correct. For, as of 1999 it was estimated that about 6,000 innocent persons were annually abducted in the world; mostly by armed factions expressing political or religious claims. But, who cares that much about those numerous innocents?

    Actually, what truly disturbs people is when it turn out that the United States is involved in similar practices in the frame of its counterterrorism activities. And, in that case, the culpability and mischiefs of those who are thus abducted (I don’t bother to call a spade a spade) are of secondary importance, when not just simply ignored.

    Subsequently, I cannot but express mere contempt toward those who feel concerned for someone’s rights only when the "victim" happens to be a terrorist abducted by the United States for interrogation purpose.
    As long as those same conveniently indignant folks will fail to take notice of the 6.000 innocent annually abducted—bar the blond pretty little girls, of course—all they can do in pointing their accusing finger to the United States is to cover themselves with ridicule and discredit.

    I make profit of this comment to say that the only one thing that surprised me about extraordinary renditions was to read on the media, not longtime ago, that at least two suspects thus abducted would have been interrogated in a secret U.S. facility located… in Syria (?)
    Last edited by Dominique R. Poirier; 07-25-2007 at 08:33 PM.

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    26 Jul 07 testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding Extraordinary Rendition, Extraterritorial Detention, And Treatment Of Detainees: Restoring Our Moral Credibility And Strengthening Our Diplomatic Standing

    Tom Malinowski, HRW
    How this country treats its enemies ought to be what distinguishes it from its enemies. The story of how it has actually done so in the last few years is not one of which we can be proud. But the full story has not yet been written. And when historians tell it many years from now, a more hopeful narrative may emerge. It will, I hope, go like this. That America was hit hard on September 11th, 2001. It tried to react in ways that were honorable and smart, but also made some terrible mistakes out of fear. But in a relatively short period of time, its democratic institutions corrected those mistakes, just as they were designed to do. That is a story of which, on balance, I would be proud.
    MG (Ret) Paul Eaton, Former CG Office of Security Transition
    ...The legal discussion where some would deliver different treatment because of technical POW status is simply not warranted.

    For our Soldiers to hear their Vice President say on radio that a “dunk in the water” is a “no brainer” if it can save lives, is a threat to the good order and discipline of our Armed Forces. Water boarding is not safeguarding a prisoner, regardless of the conditions of their capture. To hear our CIA describe water boarding as a “professional interrogation technique” is at once appalling and confusing to our men and women under arms.

    The good order and discipline of our Armed Forces begins with our Commander in Chief and must weave through the entire rank structure. The President must set the tone for our youngest Private Soldier and the administration’s policies today do not set the right tone. This is not a natural event – our men and women arrive in the Armed Forces with a strong Judeo-Christian ethic to do the right thing. And we pride ourselves in returning a good man or woman back to civilian life a better person than they were before putting on the American uniform....
    Philip Zelikow, Professor of History, University of Virginia
    Today I want to focus more directly on some of the policy ideas under consideration by the committee, especially concerning renditions and make four basic points:

    1. Renditions are an indispensable instrument of policy in order to protect the United States.

    2. Concerns about renditions have less to do with the practice itself, than with arguments about how the captives may be treated at their point of arrival. If that is the concern, then confront it directly and substantively.

    3. The practice of renditions has already changed from what it was in 2002 and 2003. It is continuing to evolve, along with many other facets of American policy. So be careful not to overreact now to the way you think people may have overreacted then.

    4. The particular proposed remedy of banning participation in renditions except if approved by a FISA court could create lasting risks that outweigh the original concern....
    Daniel Byman, Director, Center for Peace and Security Studies, Georgetown University
    ...Renditions are a vital counterterrorism tool—so vital, that they must be used sparingly so they can remain an effective part of the U.S. counterterrorism arsenal. Renditions are troubling because they can exact a high human and diplomatic price, but dangerous terrorists would go free if the program were abandoned. Unfortunately, this flawed instrument is often the only one available. Rather then stop renditions altogether, policymakers should increase the program’s transparency, strengthen oversight efforts, and embed within the process procedures that ensure more accord with the rule of law.

    The renditions program is under attack today, in part due to legitimate faults of the program and in part because of preventable misunderstandings....

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Default EU inquiry into CIA prisons to be reopened

    In 2006, Italian MP Claudio Fava wrote a report stating that 11 European Countries actively or passively cooperated with the CIA to transport terror suspects and house them in secret prisons. The report was approved by the European Parliament in early 2007.

    Now, Fava is re-opening the inquiry based on new evidence (a copy of an official approval to land a CIA plane on a military base in Ukraine and approval to locate a prison in Ukraine).

    Ukraine is denying this is true. Here's the link:

    http://fe10.news.re3.yahoo.com/s/nm/..._prisons_eu_dc

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    CIA is an intelligence agency. It shouldn't do everything the Military doesn't want to do. The CIA are not interrogators. One would hope they would have learned this from Vietnam. It seems the CIA forgot the the Green Beret Murder incident. Bad intelligence caused the assassination of the wrong guy and created a political crisis in both the US and South Vietnam. Nicholas Profitt actually wrote a subtle and compelling novel about this, The Embassy House

    Moreover, the type of "interrogation" that goes on in extraordinary rendition, at the black sites and at gitmo produces as much faulty intelligence as real intelligence, to say nothing of the damage it does in terms of image. With policies like this, the US is going to loose the war on terror in spite of itself.

    That said, I hope EU pressure can help stop these terribly destructive, counter-productive policies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by relative autonomy View Post
    CIA is an intelligence agency. It shouldn't do everything the Military doesn't want to do. The CIA are not interrogators.
    If the CIA are not interrogators, then who in our government is, that has a charter authorizing operations outside the United States?

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Well, Estonian Journalists claim..

    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    They were going to put one of them secret joints up at Fedscreek, KY. However the locals, like much of work-a-day, mainstream America, really didn't care what happened to AQ soldiers and agents and other identified and suspected enemies of the nation, but they didn't want new roads built in prime hunting ground. This is a part of the book I am writing: Hillbillies, Shrapnel and Stretch Marks: The Fundamentals of American Patriotism. Though there is alot of fiction, conjecture and fantasy involved, like Profitt's book previously referenced, I should be able to cite it often in future posts I may make in this professional forum. I hope to be able to pay Stan and Steve Metz a very handsome reviewer's fee by the way, and in the interest of sparking debate, I do assert in my book that the CIA are interrogators. I hope nobody minds me plugging my future book here.
    Estonia's press last year reported seeing CIA prison C-21s in Pärnu, Estonia with final destinations to Poland and Romania. Never mind the fact that Pärnu's Soviet-era runway would destroy a C21's landing gear on both takeoff and landing, and the purported 'food' rushed to the airport for the C21 crew and 'passengers' would have certainly killed all aboard, there's also a very obvious absence of JP-4

    BTW, just how much is the 'very handsome reviewer's fee' and do I have to split it with Steve He does afterall have a grill larger than my livingroom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penta View Post
    If the CIA are not interrogators, then who in our government is, that has a charter authorizing operations outside the United States?
    The Defense Intelligence Agency? Maybe even the State Department? Really, i don't think is something US, as a liberal republic, should be doing. I understand the arguments for aggressive interrogation, torture, and extraordinary redefinition but ultimately think they corrupt the intelligence process more than add to it, to say nothing of what they do for the image or moral standing. Maybe it is an essential function but I just think the negatives out weigh the positives. Most importantly, I don't think American service people, whether they are intelligence professionals, military officers, or enlisted men, should be put in a position where, it can be argued, they are violating the US constitution and committing war crimes. Frankly, lynndie england was fallboy and its disgraceful. Check out The Torture Papers; the documents are all there. you can see a lot of it google books.

    I agree with Dr. Zelikow's second point that jedburgh posted. The real issue at hand in extraordinary renditions is how the detainees are handled. If the people weren't being tortured and abused extraordinary rendition would be not be an issue that the EU would act on like it is. Its going to be interesting how this EU investigation pans out and, much further down the road, how contemporary debates on torture are going to be cast by historians.

    Back to the CIA, hasn't it been a victim of serious mission creep? As far as i understand (and please let me know if i am wrong), the CIA Charter defines the CIA as an mere independent analytical Agency. The Truman Administration, through NSC decisions, quickly gave it an operational capacity, expanding on some vague clause like "undertake such other functions related to national security." I think the CIA ended up picking up everything the military or state department couldn't or wouldn't do. I just think interrogations is a perfect of example of the CIA getting involved in stuff it shouldn't and, on a practical level, is diluting the quality of intelligence sources and overall analysis that follows.

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relative autonomy View Post
    Back to the CIA, hasn't it been a victim of serious mission creep? As far as i understand (and please let me know if i am wrong), the CIA Charter defines the CIA as an mere independent analytical Agency. The Truman Administration, through NSC decisions, quickly gave it an operational capacity, expanding on some vague clause like "undertake such other functions related to national security." I think the CIA ended up picking up everything the military or state department couldn't or wouldn't do. I just think interrogations is a perfect of example of the CIA getting involved in stuff it shouldn't and, on a practical level, is diluting the quality of intelligence sources and overall analysis that follows.
    Oh Grasshopper (he intones in his best David Carradine voice), there is much for you still to learn.
    I recommend that you do a little reading about what is encompassed by the intelligence discipline. It is not simply analysis. It includes planning, collection, processing, analysis and dissemination. It takes many forms or -Ints. Interrogation is a technique that is germane to just one part of the whole discipline--the Human Intelligence (or HUMINT) sub-discipline.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Oh Grasshopper (he intones in his best David Carradine voice), there is much for you still to learn.
    I recommend that you do a little reading about what is encompassed by the intelligence discipline. It is not simply analysis. It includes planning, collection, processing, analysis and dissemination. It takes many forms or -Ints. Interrogation is a technique that is germane to just one part of the whole discipline--the Human Intelligence (or HUMINT) sub-discipline.
    i understand the subfields of intelligence and i know how central interrogations are to human intelligence. I just think interrogations, especially as when they drift more towards torture, corrupt the intelligence process. I mean you will say anything to stop pain. It's that simple. From my research, which is mostly on Vietnam, its seems that informant nets and agent penetrations are a much better source of human intelligence than interrogations. Considering that so much of "small wars" are concerned with "winning the hearts and minds" and that "interrogation" tactics often serve to alienate the population, I think one would want to be very careful about what countries they rendition prisoners to and what tactics are condoned. I think the CIA black sites and Gitmo (in addition to extraordinary rendition) have hurt the US more than helped them in the War on Terror. I can we really say the damage done in terms of public standing is worth whatever intelligence was gotten from those interrogations?

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    OPSEC guys - please. If something is declassified I need to know that and it has to be clearly demonstrated that it is. If it has been leaked on another Internet site - so be it - but do not post it here. Provide a link. Thanks.

    On Edit: Provided link to original document posted on MSNBC.
    Last edited by SWJED; 11-20-2007 at 02:38 AM. Reason: Added link.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Apologies. The Taguba report is, however, in the public domain since 2004 and even exists on a .mil website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Apologies. The Taguba report is, however, in the public domain since 2004 and even exists on a .mil website.
    ... understand. But we will still go with just links if a document has paragraph markings. Dealing with all the e-mails and "other stuff" is a headache I can do without. Hope everyone understands...

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    ... understand. But we will still go with just links if a document has paragraph markings. Dealing with all the e-mails and "other stuff" is a headache I can do without. Hope everyone understands...
    Totally - apologies for my screwup.

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    This thread, unsurprisingly, has strayed quite a bit from the original specific topic of renditions towards the broader topic of interrogation in the GWOT in general.

    Prior to posting along those lines in this thread, please look at the existing threads on the subject, and post where it is most appropriate:

    A Lesson About Torture, Half Century On

    Army Interroation FM Put On Hold

    Republican Revolt Over Interrogation Techniques

    Interrogation Meets T.E. Lawrence

    Advisors Fault Harsh Methods in Interrogation

    Waterboarding: A Tool of Political Gotcha

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    Default Explanation

    Please pardon the length and possible excessive use of bold font

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    in this country at this time. Things can change but are really unlikely to do so. We have a national tendency to go too far in one direction and then to over correct and go back too far in the opposite direction -- yet we generally end up after some oscillation in getting it about right.
    Let's hope so.

    As for "harsh interrogation"... Maybe we should define our terms. I think waterboarding is torture - plain and simple. I think that long-time-standing, sleep deprivation, and induced hypothermia can become torture if they go on too long - 72 hours of being forced to stand in a 60 degree cell without sleep is torture in my book.

    Maybe you disagree but I would hope that you at least agree that they are torture if applied to innocent men if not for combatants. A real terrorist might be psychologically able to deal with some of them but an innocent man who finds himself caught up in this world by mistake probably wont. The combined shock of being wrongly accused, detained (or kidnapped), and then having these techniques performed on him by people who ignore his protestations of innocence would be horrifying to the average man. Its one thing to be forced to stand in a freezing cell for days when you have a purpose and know why you are there and quite another to undergo the same treatment while trying to figure out how the hell your life took this radically wrong turn and why no one will listen to you when you try and tell them who you really are


    Which leads to to your final paragraph. I'm not at all sure what you're trying to say? Are you implying that we have done that or is that merely a hypothetical based on some things you've seen on blogs written by people who have little real knowledge of the topic?

    What I mean is this: Nearly every single person, with only a handful of exceptions, I have met or spoken to who says they support, in the case of "known terrorist", techniques like water-boarding or forcing a man to stay awake and standing for days on end in a cold cell ALSO support

    1. Denying accused terrorists any meaningful legal representation or any communication with the outside world at all.
    2. Admitting secret evidence that the accused can not see or respond to.
    3. and, when pushed, Using these techniques on "suspected" terrorists and not just "known" terrorists.

    I think these are a "perfect storm" of dangerously sloppy policies. Together they make it so that the only protection for the innocent is ... the good faith and diligence of the authorities because if an innocent man IS arrested he will have almost no chance to avoid getting this kind of harsh treatment which will probably produce a confession and thereby doom him.

    The Bush administration has even used the fact that a defendant has been interrogated to oppose freeing him - or even allowing him to communicate with the outside world at all - under the argument that "he now knows our interrogation methods, which are secret, and might talk about them to others" Think about that and think about how it would work on an innocent man : their own mistake becomes a reason to keep you in prison. "Sorry we imprisoned and waterboarded you when you were completely innocent but now you have to stay in prison because, if we let you out, you might talk about what we did to you"

    Frankly, I do not understand how someone who takes justice seriously can support harsh interrogation AND support related policies that mainly serve to make mistakes more likely and less correctable.

    For a specific example of my worries I refer you to the story of Khalid El-Masri, a German who spent months being beaten and "harshly interrogated" in a CIA blacksite because his name is the same as that of a wanted terrorist "Khalid al-Masri" (same spelling in Arabic however) and the CIA employees didn't vet him before they had him renditioned in Jan 04. They literally appear to have ordered the rendition based solely on the spelling of his name on a flight manifest and a "gut feeling" that he was their man. For months he told them who he was, where he lived, and even where his kids went to school so they could verify his identity and they never even bothered to check any of it to see if he was telling the truth. Eventually they did realize he was the wrong Khalid el-Masri and in March 2004 they told him they knew he was innocent but STILL did not release him until April - because they were more concerned with covering their asses and hiding evidence of their mistake than letting a man they knew was innocent out of prison. When they finally did release him they didn't even send him home - they dumped him blindfolded in a hill in Albania and left him to find his own way back to Germany.

    While our government will not "confirm or deny" any of this, it has largely been confirmed by an independent German investigation. Frankly, it appears as though his German citizenship is the main reason they finally released him - if he wasn't the citizen of an important ally Its unclear whether they would have let him go at all. The whole story is disgusting - it began as an easily avoidable mistake and ended in pure bad-faith behavior by officials trying to hide their own screw-ups. While I dont have proof that there are any other innocent people in similar circumstances I have no reason to believe otherwise since the people who both support and implement these policies fiercely object to the kinds of safeguards that could keep them from happening again.

  19. #19
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Default Re: CIA Charter

    Under the National Security Act of 1947

    "HEAD OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. - In the Director's capacity as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Director shall -
    (1) collect intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means,
    ...
    (5) perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President or the National Security Council may direct."

    This last is the blank check for the CIA to do anything the President directs. Put the first and last lines together, and it has been the authority for extrodinary rendition (and the Bay of Pigs, and the bizarre stuff the CIA got up to in Viet Nam, etc).

    Constitutionally, the CIA should be restricted to analysis, and the collection and "other functions and duties" should be split between DoD (read DIA) and FBI.

    Also note that the "other functions and duties" has for sixty years made the CIA's operations a reflection of the will of the President and National Security Council, and ironically but unsuprisingly, at its best under Pres Reagan and Pres Bush Sr. who had them do the least stuff other than analysis.

    Ethically, I would argue that a clean and acknowledged kill is morally more defensible than extrodinary rendition. For collecting intelligence, rendition is on a par with torture, and is worse than useless, and clearly indicates that unethical and uninformed pressure was being applied from the top down, 'no questions asked'.

    To heck with ethics, let's just look at pragmatics. As the number of renditions goes up, the likelihood of exposure of the operation increases. Exposure of the operation has obvious and damaging secondary effects, and the secondary effects are so large that tertiary effects are very hard to effectively forecast. Simple risk/benefit analysis would indicate that rendition is a sucker bet.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Tolsen, I've taken the liberty of below quoting

    the second paragraph of your post from the other thread because it seems to summarize the lengthy comment above:

    2. I do understand that each of the legal protections I mentioned (lawyers, no secret evidence) have inherent "dangers" that could result in a terrorist getting away or otherwise thwarting our efforts. However, I think its worth the small risk to achieve a radical reduction in the collateral damage we inflict on innocents. Do you disagree?
    Yes, I disagree.

    ...Do you think we really wont hurt that many innocent people?
    We'll hurt some to one degree or another but there won't be many -- I do not subscribe to the "Better a thousand guilty go free than one innocent incarcerated" mantra. Our systems basically work, they, like ANY human system will err on occasion. I cheerfully accept a 90+% solution. Please note that I emphasized the word ANY human human system -- that includes one that would cater to your very sensible and perfecly acceptable desires. I guess I'm just a little more suspicious and accepting of human foibles...

    ...I've yet to hear a supporter of harsh interrogation seriously address the concept of innocence (almost always they restrict their arguments to cases where guilt is assumed and give only token admissions that "of course I dont want to hurt innocent people, but lets assume the guy is guilty for now...").
    Prepare to hear -- er, read -- it. Hang around the wrong place at the wrong time, run around with the wrong people, give the appearance of hostile intent and all the innocence in the world will not save you. Don't know about you but my folks told me that and more along the same line many years ago -- they were right. Thus, my answer is that sometimes bad things happen to good people; tough munchies. Fortunately, it doesn't happen often. I'm cool with that, both ways.

    ...My opinion is also based on assumptions though (one of which is that all large organizations and beauracracies screw up...a lot) and they may be wrong.
    I'm sure your assumption is totally correct; there will be occasional screwups. always have been.

    I can accept that and am willing to do so. I still accept harsh interrogations and accept the fact that the occasional innocent will lose some sleep or be grossly uncomfortable for a while. I do not agree with torture as defined in the USC.

    However, I think Jedburgh put this on the wrong thread -- I'm not a believer in
    extraordinary rendition, I pretty much agree with Van, above, on that. I can accept it simply because we've been doing it more or less since WW II and Clinton effectively codified it but I think it's dumb, the payoff isn't worth the cost IMO.

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