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The change Obama promised in dealing with captured terrorists?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Little-Acorn, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Likes Received:
    San Diego, CA

    from "Best of the Web Today"
    by James Taranto

    Feb. 9, 2009

    A New Rendition of an Old Song

    Barack Obama has been president for less than three weeks, and it's sometimes hard to remember how different everything was before change. Example: President Bush's policy of "extraordinary rendition," in which, it is said, terrorists were turned over to foreign intelligence services for interrogation. Legend has it that the foreigners tortured the terrorists.

    Technically, this was not Bush's policy exactly. It was instituted by President Clinton. But that just shows how averse Bush was to change. Not only did he refuse to change his own policies, he didn't even change some of his predecessor's policies.

    Now, however, everything really has changed, as detailed in this Associated Press report on CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta's confirmation hearing:

    The United States will continue to hand foreign detainees over to other countries for questioning, but only with assurances they will not be tortured, Leon Panetta told a Senate committee considering his confirmation as CIA director.

    OK, we guess not everything has changed. The U.S. will still do rendition, but the important thing is that now, for the first time, we will demand assurances that they won't be tortured.

    Oh, wait:

    That has long been U.S. policy, but some former prisoners subjected to the process--known as extraordinary rendition--during the Bush administration's anti-terror war say they were tortured.

    Panetta must be toughening the demands for assurance, insisting that foreign governments pinky-swear and that the whole process be witnessed by a notary public, or something like that.

    Or not:

    "I will seek the same kind of assurances that they will not be treated inhumanely," Panetta said Friday in his second day before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    Hmm, what could it be that the Obama administration is doing differently? Oh, we know! At least now the U.S. will no longer render terrorists for the purpose of having them tortured.

    Uh, guess that's not it either:

    Panetta formally retracted a statement he made Thursday that the Bush administration transferred prisoners for the purpose of torture.

    "I am not aware of the validity of those claims," he said.

    Heraclitus observed that change is the only constant. Finally, that paradox makes sense!

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