Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Undisclosed Locations and Black Sites

Well the word is out! It isn't the first time we have heard of renditions. Check out today's Washington Post. What Eastern European country do we think it is? I say one of them is Poland. I don't know why. It's a big Eastern European country that has been cooperating with the US. I hate to say it, but Georgia may be another becuase we do have close intelligence ties with the Georgians, US military advisors on the ground, and pleanty of old Soviet installations there. And the chaos there would be a good cover. Any guesses as to the others?

John McCain introduced legislation to insure that all those held by the US would be treated in conformity with Human Rights standards. Cheney and Goss asked to have the CIA exempted. What does this tell you?

I find interesting that there is a tacit understanding that they have to keep these people off of US soil and out of the reach of US courts and thus, US rights and legal restrictions. By seeking legislative exemptions, they are using the system to defeat itself. Who does that remind us of?

As the article says, it is illegal for the government to hold prisoners in such isolation in secret prisons in the United States, which is why the CIA placed them overseas . . .”

I will leave it at there. There is so much to say about such things, I will leave that to my fellow Citizens.


Anonymous said...

The official adminsitration position is summed up in a statement I heard on PBS Newshour today. "The test of your principles is what you do when no one is looking."

My thought was, "Deep." It's also bull. Yet again we are asked to trust them. And what is their claim to be deserving of trust? Their "faith."

It is telling that none of the founding fathers ever considered unobserved tests of priciple to be a valid basis for government.  

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Dr. Strangelove said...

I often hear people say that it's a rough world and this kind of dirty work must be done. Just look at the programs "24" and "Lost" where torture has been used--and applauded--because it was supposedly necessary. We have to take a stand against this madness.

The dark side is not stronger. No--quicker, easier, more seductive, it is. (Sorry, I could not resist.)

Secret prisons? Military tribunals? Torture?! These things are unnecessary, counterproductive, and harmful to the U.S. and our interests. And it they are evil. The so-called "war on terror" has become a deadly program of torture, secrecy, and lies. We shall surely look back on these years as among the blackest in American history.

Anonymous said...

WARNING! This post contains an idealistic, emotional thought pattern. It is terribly long and realists and pessimists may want to avoid reading further.

Human Rights Watch  has built a circumstantial case against Poland and Romania. These countries, so newly opened and part of, or soon to be part of the EU, are putting their reputations on the line for the US. What are they getting in return?

What makes me particularly sick is that our country has become that which we have long distained. John McCain made and excellent statement before the Senate last month that really gets at the heart as to why this is so wrong. Read his statement.

This is where I get emotional, so bear with me. When I was in France recently, I was asked a lot about my thoughts on what was happening in Iraq. At one point, I explained that I was deeply disappointed in my country. I likened it to a falling out with a true love. It is the type of disappointment that comes from deep disenchantment and sadness at the lost potential. We are a nation so full of possibility! We have everything it takes and more to give good things to the world. There was a time when I was proud to hold my head up and say, "I am American." just as the Romans used to. And now, I fight the urge to hang my head and say, "I am Canadian." I want to apologize for being American.

I think this issue goes much deeper than just a prisoner scandal. It goes back to what I have said in other posts. The very democratic ideals that we as a nation are built upon have been completely forgotten and disrespected. I said after the elections that this country needed have a serious dialogue about the real meaning of "liberty", "equality", the nature of rights, civic responsibility, the social contract, etc. I don't mean we hash out abortion or the 10 commandments. Those are just distracters. I mean we talk about the actual values themselves. Man, if I were president, I'd sit down once a month on TV and have a debate or discussion with a member of the opposing party. I'd pull a Jed Bartlett and stand up with a religious extremist and show the absurdity of his thinking. I wouldn't have some silly debate about gay marriage. I mean a real talk about what equality means, for instance. Since the election is never really over, why not have the debates on-going. If they can do it for a TV show ( West Wing this Sunday), why not for real? Why not see the President and Congress interact? If Blair has to beat back Parliament every week, why shouldn't our president? Why let polling be the only conduit between the president and the people? Let's skip the over-marketed photo ops and get some serious talking going on. If we have a republican form or government, then let's see our representatives talking to the man in Oval. Would it really upset the balance of powers so much?

We are nation built on big, grand, wonderful ideals. I used to tell my students that the beauty of America was that even though we often failed, we were always striving to be better. I used to say, and to believe that both political parties really did want to make this nation better; they just had different visions. It was at the borders of those visions that politics happen. That is when I was optimistic. There was a young, vibrant Clinton in the White House and I could believe that big things were possible. Remember the "Bridge to the 21st century"? It was a cheap slogan, but I bought into it. I don't think any of it is possible anymore and I don't believe the things I told my students anymore. We are just mediocre. Our political parties are self-centered. They have let the sport of winning take over the actual value of winning. We have fallen into the trap of hubris. This delusion that "Americans would never do that!"; our blind faith in our ideals have allowed things like black sites to happen. Guess what people; constitutions are written and they don't last forever. Just ask the French! They have to be protected, respected, and honored. Like money, constitutions work because people believe in them. Once that belief is destroyed, it's revolution.

Other nations look to the US as leader. They respect us because of our morality, fairness, and generosity. They believe just as much in the type of things we preach as we do, perhaps even more. Thirsty men understand the value of water. And they, too, are disappointed. They say that they still like the American people. But our government is another issue. In some quarters, even that bit of charity has disappeared. As a democracy, each and every one of us bears some responsibility for what happens. We should be taking that seriously. I wonder if Americans realize just how important we are to rest of the world? We are held to higher standards as a result. And we have failed miserably. Think about the fact that some 600 people died last year in the Arizona desert just to get here!

The population of this country elected these pitiful people to lead because it "felt good". No real thought went into that voting decision. "My preacher told me Bush was a good man. So I voted for him." " My union said I should vote democrat straight down the line." And overseas, people can't understand it. My French friends said, "We could accept it once. But we can't accept, much less understand it twice."


// posted by uswest

Anonymous said...

I understand and sympathize with everthing US West said.

I'll only say that for the French saying they can't accept it fairness to us, we actually only elected the guy once. Of course it's on us that we didn't hit the streets when Bush v Gore came down the way it did. Or even before it went to SCOTUS in the first place.

But of course in 2000 we thought the stakes were much much lower. Most people thought they were electing a nice care-taker President to preside over a period of peace and prosperity. They forgot that such things are not handed down from Heavan but actually earned through good policy.

Given events in France recently I'm sure more of our French friends understand feelings like you expressed above. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

My little pet peeve:

I hate seeing cutesy or "in-the-know" words like POTUS or SCOTUS for President and Supreme Court. If some abbrevation is needed, why not Pres. or SC? I mean, do we call UCLA "TUOCALA" (The University of California at Los Angeles) or the military TMOTUS? Is Cheney VPOTUS? Do we call Dennis Hastert SOTHOTUS? Is Colin Powell FSSOTUS? Of course not.

Nobody used these acronyms until somebody on TV thought they were cute or "in the know." Please, on this blog, just use standard abbreviations for President, Pres., etc. and SC.

My poor countrymen and language. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaghh! 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

Thanks for the link, US West. I read McCain's excellent statement.

McCain says openly that a "strange legal determination" was made by the adminstration that it is OK to treat foreigners held outside the U.S. inhumanely.

He explains that he, "can understand why some administration lawyers might want ambiguity, so that every hypothetical option is theoretically open, even those the President has said he does not want to exercise. But war does not occur in theory, and our troops are not served by ambiguity."

But the main point, he says, is that treating prisoners like this is generally not useful, and even when it might be useful, it is never necessary and always wrong.

"We are Americans, and we hold ourselves to humane standards of treatment of people no matter how evil or terrible they may be. To do otherwise undermines our security, but it also undermines our greatness as a nation... We are better than these terrorists, and we will we win. The enemy we fight has no respect for human life or human rights. They don’t deserve our sympathy. But this isn’t about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies."

Hear, hear! Now, let's hear some Democrats saying this too, eh?

Anonymous said...

Law Talking Guy, do you mock me? ;-)

Strangelove quotes the very passages that caught my eye. McCain is a Republican I could consider voting for. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

SC? Isn't that a private university in Los Angeles?


// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

McCain is a Republican I could consider voting for. 

... if only for this reason. There are a lot of things that the Bush administration does that a McCain administration would continue doing. But you can be damn sure that no one would be tortured under McCain.

It makes me sick that this is happening in America. 

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

But I doubt any leading Democratic candidate would continue the torture policy either. Once we have a election between a Republican like McCain and any Democrat, we've won something. The problem is that I'm afraid McCain can't win his party's nomination because of the stranglehold the theocrats have on the primary system. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Dostoyevsky wrote that a nation that has ceased to think it can save the world is no longer a great nation, but a mere ethnographical distinction. I am grateful that McCain is taking the lead on this. I suspect that future generations will be grateful as well for standing up for what is right. America is still a great nation if even some Republicans can put morality ahead of self-interest when it really matters. There is no moral issue more important today than opposing torture by our own government. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

McCain frames the torture issue in terms of self-interest as well as morality. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

He is clever to do so, but I doubt that is his motivation. Similarly, there are those who oppose torture saying it does not work. Perhaps, but that is also not the motivation for banning it. 

// posted by LTG