No excuse for rendition

By October 27, 2010


Mr. Alger in his recent letter predicts how I will respond to his revelation that President Obama signed an executive order in 2009 authorizing rendition. I’m a bit confused by his prediction — I believe he suggests given President Obama’s order I would respond with a short statement against torture, but if a Republican president did it I would respond with 20 column inches of print.

Mr. Alger, here is my actual response, which is neither short nor 20 column inches:  I have said numerous times in letters to the editor that President Obama is complicit with the torture policies of President Bush — he should have immediately renounced them and called for a war crimes investigation and prosecution as he has no option to look forward, not backward, nor to overlook his own involvement.  By law, he is “under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches of the law, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.”

But each administration enters office loudly whistling with its fingers in its ears, looking the other way from the sins of the previous administration. This in the hope they will be given the same professional courtesy when they leave office.  And, if this wasn’t the case, many famous (or better, infamous) people would be in jail serving long prison sentences.  One wonders why this would be a bad thing in a country that claims to exist under the rule of law.

Mr. Alger, it is nice to see we are agreed on rendition (the practice of sending a criminal or terrorist suspect covertly to be interrogated in a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners and which is abhorrent regardless of which president does it).

No excuses allowed.




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