Thursday, November 03, 2005

It Can't Happen There

If I have any Muslim readers, Eid Mubarak to you.

The CIA has been hiding and torturing detainees in secret prisons located in other countries. While this comes as a surprise to absolutely no one who knows the history of the CIA, Dana Priest's report on the issue makes our suspicions more concrete - and more chilling.

It is unthinkable that our country should be responsible for the "disappearance" of anybody, even of 100 undeniably evil creeps. This is immoral, un-American, and downright scary. It is the American way to give everyone a fair trial. Terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols received that courtesy. Hell, even Goebbels and Goering got their day in court. Do people lose their right to a fair trial when their names become harder to pronounce?

I understand that the intelligence being extracted from these detainees is probably very valuable - or at least was. I don't know how much useful intel is being produced three years after their capture, but I'll give the intel people the benefit of the doubt on that one. Why, though, do we need to keep them in a secret location without at least the rights a prisoner of war deserves? Is there something inherently more productive about interrogating them in secret?

Congratulations to the 90 Senators (including my own Senators Burr and Dole) who voted for the McCain Amendment mandating humane treatment for all people in U.S. custody. As the Senate version stands, the regulation would apply to those in CIA custody as well. But the amendment is being threatened in conference committee by Cheney operatives who want to exempt the CIA from the regulations. I don't understand why Cheney wants to keep people in secret prisons and torture them - seems superfluous at best and counterproductive at worst.

In other news, Denver legalized the possession of an ounce of marijuana. It's a toothless law, since state and federal anti-possession laws still exist, but it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Toke up, Broncos fans.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Dammit, I wanted to be the first to jump all over the legalization thing. You're right that it's toothless, but it's a step in the right direction. When I have more time this afternoon, I may blog about it.

As for your question ("Is there something inherently more productive about interrogating them in secret?") I have your answer: yes, because then you can use any tactics necessary without fearing public backlash. Sad but likely true.