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Right Intention: Is This The New Lefty Cause?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Is This The New Lefty Cause?

Liberal Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) is promoting what could be the new leftist chant:

US must stop 'outsourcing' torture

My guess is that the "US must" part will be dropped as it is a bit cumbersome. "Stop outsourcing torture" is short and has a nice rhythm to it. It also has the advantage of issuing a blanket condemnation of the US while easily fitting on protest signs, and being simplistic enough to be understood by your average campus radical. It's sort of like "No Blood For Oil" or "Not In My Name" in that regard.

Anyway, what's this all about?

AN UNMARKED PLANE arrives in the middle of the night carrying men who aren't wearing uniforms but have on black hoods. The men grab prisoners out of the hands of government officials, cut off their clothes, drug them on the spot, shackle them, force the prisoners onto the plane and take off into the night. When the ''torture" plane disappears, no one knows where and when the captives will appear and what will happen to them: electrocution, beatings, sexual abuse?

Oohh. Sounds ominous. It's the "torture plane". Let's continue.

At first guess, you might imagine that this terrible operation is the work of a drug cartel or a rogue member of the ''axis of evil," but the scene described involves US officials in a routine part of the Bush administration's practice of ''outsourcing torture."

There's that phrase again. What is "outsourcing torture"?

Recently, light has been shed on these dark practices, challenging us to reaffirm the principles on which our country was founded: justice, liberty, and the rule of law. The practice of sending prisoners into the hands of known human rights violators mocks the core values that define who we are and threatens our own soldiers who risk their lives in combat and could face terrible consequences as prisoners of war.

What he doesn't tell you is that these prisoners are usually sent to their home countries. It just so happens that most terrorists are from Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc. that happen to be friendly to the US and dislike Islamist fascists as much as we do. Instead the Congressman will highlight an exception rather than the rule.

This extraordinary rendition first gained national attention in September 2002, when Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was seized by the US government while on US soil, but then was whisked away to Jordan and later Syria at the request of the CIA.

It may have been highlighted then, but the practice was started under Clinton. Here's the Opinion Journal with a quote from Sandy Berger:

It happens that in the spring of 1996, the government of Sudan offered to deliver Osama bin Laden (then living in Khartoum) into U.S. custody. The Clinton Administration was aware of the threat bin Laden posed, but it worried it didn't yet have sufficient information to indict him on terrorism charges in court. Instead, the U.S. sought to have the Saudis take bin Laden and behead him.

"In the United States, we have this thing called the Constitution, so to bring him here is to bring him into the justice system," Mr. Berger told the Washington Post in October 2001. "I don't think that was our first choice. Our first choice was to send him someplace where justice is more 'streamlined.' " In the event, the Saudis were in no mood to take bin Laden, Mr. Berger did not press the matter, and bin Laden left for Afghanistan on a chartered plane.

In other words, the Clinton Administration used the rendering practice with the avowed expectation that suspects would be tortured, or worse. The Bush Administration says it uses it only on condition of humane treatment and assigns personnel to "monitor compliance." If this is a torture scandal, it didn't start on September 12, 2001.

Don't expect to hear this from the left. No criticism is allowed of the patron saint of the party. Let's continue:

In 2002, then-CIA director George Tenet testified to the 9/11 Commission that over 70 people had been subjected to renditions prior to Sept. 11, 2001. CIA operatives interviewed by The New Yorker magazine stated that the once limited practice of rendition has mushroomed into a worldwide operation of detaining and transferring prisoners outside of any legal structure. One former government official said that over 150 renditions have been conducted since 9/11.

Is that all? 150? I would have expected, and hoped for, a multiple of this. We haven't caught as many terrorists as I would have thought.

Last spring, photographs of abuse conducted by American soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq shocked the world.

No. What was shocking was the hysterical overreaction to naked prisoner piles and men forced to wear panties on their head. All of which was done in the hopes of damaging America and/or this administration. I just can't get worked up over humiliating terrorists.

If we believe these detainees are terrorists who have intelligence information vital to protecting our country, we should hold and question them ourselves.

Okay, this is the line that just sends me up the wall. How are we supposed to do this? Where has this guy been? The hysterically screeching left and their media allies have done their level best to hinder the war on terror at every freaking turn. If we capture a terrorist, we can't take them to Guantanamo because some ACLU lawyer or its equivalent will be filing a lawsuit within a nanosecond to get him access to an American court room with its standards of evidence. As if a terrorist caught in a cave in Afghanistan will have wiretaps or videotape evidence against them.

And wherever we hold them, any coercive interrogation techniques will be labeled "torture" regardless of what is actually done to the terrorist. The resulting media feeding frenzy and pressure on the government makes it impossible to actually interrogate these people ourselves. Because, as the Opinion Journal points out:

Keep in mind that al Qaeda detainees enter U.S. custody trained to deal with U.S. interrogators, and well aware of our legal limitations. U.S. forces have found al Qaeda training manuals that explain in detail what they can expect. This removes the most powerful tool any interrogator can have in dealing with detainees, which is the anxiety that comes with uncertainty. The prospect of rendition creates that uncertainty...

...there would be no need to render suspects in the first place if American interrogators were not already, and increasingly, constrained.

Constrained? We couldn't even try to capture these people during the Clinton administration without jumping through some ridiculous hoops. Read this:

Scheuer recalled that on one occasion, when a plan had been put together to capture bin Laden, U.S. lawyers demanded that an ergonomic chair -- with oxygen and medical supplies -- be built for him so he would be comfortable. They also reviewed the type of tape that would be used to gag the al-Qaida leader.

An ergonomic chair? The possibility of catching Bin Laden was held up because some lefty lawyers demanded he have an ergonomic chair? Are you freaking kidding me?

So let's sum up. If we capture terrorists, we can't bring them to US territory because the ACLU or its equivalent will spare no resource in trying to free them. Wherever we do hold them, the far left and their media allies will create a feeding frenzy and make it impossible to interrogate them. And we are expected to release them to the custody of their home countries, but only if it is a country like Britain or Australia, where the terrorist is unlikely to face a strong interrogation. If we send them to a country like Egypt or Jordan, the howling begins again, even if it's the terrorists' home country. How we are supposed to get information from the terrorists the left never says. Nor do I think they care. The left acts as if the US is a greater danger than Osama Bin Laden.

In the war on terror, the left has offered only obstacles, not solutions. And then they wonder why no one takes them seriously on national security or foreign policy issues.


Blogger Infinity8Ball said...

Well said!

5:28 PM  
Blogger RD said...

Thanks. Hope you like the rest of the site.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Over50 said...

why do u call the people who disagree with this policy "lefties"? are they left-handed? or is it a corruption of the german word luft, which i think means fly, e.g., the lefties are flyers. Personally, i think you just like calling people names because it makes other people who can't think on their own intensely moved to hear certain names...some people go around saying "Jesus, Jesus" and everyone thinks they have something to say, which is sorta what i think is going on here. Notwithstanding, i've been called a leftie at times and i think torturing prisoners overseas is a good idea. i think torturing them here is ok, except that it is against the constitution.

10:11 PM  
Blogger RD said...

They are called "lefties" solely for the reason that they are on the left side of the political spectrum. And no, the term is not used to elicit a Pavlovian response, which I think is what you are trying to say in your second point.

But I'm glad we agree that coercive interrogation is okay for terrorists. But that you describe yourself as a leftie, but thinks torturing terrorists is okay makes you the exception, not the rule. Sort of like pro choice Republicans.

11:04 PM  

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