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Gitmo to Close; Rendition to Continue?

The LA Times has a story today noting a conspicuous absence among the Bush Administration counter-terror policies reversed or limited by the Obama Administration: Extraordinary Rendition.

"Obviously you need to preserve some tools — you still have to go after the bad guys," said an Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing the legal reasoning. "The legal advisors working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles and kicked up a big storm in Europe. But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice."

One provision in one of Obama's orders appears to preserve the CIA's ability to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects as long as they are not held long-term. The little-noticed provision states that the instructions to close the CIA's secret prison sites "do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis."

Despite concern about rendition, Obama's prohibition of many other counter-terrorism tools could prompt intelligence officers to resort more frequently to the "transitory" technique.

The decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human rights groups. Leaders of such organizations attribute that to a sense that nations need certain tools to combat terrorism.

"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "What I heard loud and clear from the president's order was that they want to design a system that doesn't result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured — but that designing that system is going to take some time."

UPDATE: Hilzoy thinks there is less to the story than meets the eye. A real possibility is that the Obama Administration probably recognizes the utility of rendition, and wants it available for extreme circumstances, but also wants it done more responsibly. This was the position advocated by Georgetown's Daniel Byman in an op-ed I blogged about some years back.

Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
Yes - missing from the effusive "he closed GITMO" commentary, human rights experts failed to pick up on this one. I find it interesting (actually, disturbing) that some human rights groups quoted in the article are engaging in Obam-apologia. Rather than questioning the existence of rendition - which they did during the Bush administration - they are saying that Obama will practice a humane version of it. That's laughable. For the last few years, the progressive community has loudly denied the possibility of an acceptable version of rendition. Now, magically, such a plan is feasible. "Extraordinary Rendition" Remains Under Obama Administration
2.1.2009 11:47am
Kevin P. (mail):

"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.


LOL. We're seeing the Change(TM) already!
2.1.2009 11:53am
Bart (mail):
People need to realize that this is only an executive order and Mr. Obama can make an exception to it by simply picking up the phone. Indeed, Obama has already made multiple exceptions to his order barring lobbyists from serving in his administration.

Take these orders for what they are - public relations.

It is amusing, though, to see HRW already making excuses for The One under circumstances for which they would have condemned Mr. Bush.
2.1.2009 11:55am
SPO:
"From both a moral standpoint and a practical standpoint, torture is wrong. Barack Obama will end the use torture without exception. He also will eliminate the practice of extreme rendition, where we outsource our torture to other countries."

That's an Obama campaign promise. Of course, the LA Times article doesn't quote it. Bias in action.
2.1.2009 11:58am
zippypinhead:
Another example of the old adage, "be careful what you ask for, you may get it."

[/sarcasm on]
...it may be time for me to renew my previous suggestion that the most elegant way for the Obama Administration to get out of its Gitmo campaign promise pickle is to simply out-source detention of the remaining "enemy combatants" to the Chinese or the Indians, both of whom have extensive experience co-opting formerly U.S.-controlled industries, and neither of whom have a lot of fondness for Islamic radicals. Besides, I hear the Black Hole of Calcutta has some vacancies...
[/sarcasm off]
2.1.2009 12:01pm
wfjag:
It won't be too long before Sarcastro's comments are statements of fact.
2.1.2009 12:05pm
zippypinhead:
It won't be too long before Sarcastro's comments are statements of fact.
They aren't? I have regularly thought that sometimes they're the best-informed posts on this blog...
2.1.2009 12:09pm
Morat (mail):
What type of rendition? Prior to Bush, the US (among other countries) quietly practiced the art of occasionally snatching someone, spiriting him to the US, and putting him on trial without bothering the local authorities with the whole affair.

Then under Bush, the term started covering not just abduction, but abduction to a black site or abduction straight to a country where torture was practiced.

The former is something I'm bang alongside -- I was behind it under Reagan, Clinton, Bush the Elder, and Bush Junior, and under Obama.

The latter -- disappearing people to send them to black sites to be tortured, or sent to Syria or whomever for the exact same thing -- I oppose.

I don't see a problem with what's described in that piece -- I have no problems with the CIA grabbing bad guys, so long as there's an accounting pretty swiftly. Getting dropped off the books and held for months or years in prisons no one knows about is quite a bit different.
2.1.2009 12:18pm
:):
"Rather than questioning the existence of rendition - which they did during the Bush administration - they are saying that Obama will practice a humane version of it. That's laughable. For the last few years, the progressive community has loudly denied the possibility of an acceptable version of rendition. Now, magically, such a plan is feasible."

Bush practised a humane version of waterboarding.
2.1.2009 12:46pm
CDU (mail) (www):

What type of rendition? Prior to Bush, the US (among other countries) quietly practiced the art of occasionally snatching someone, spiriting him to the US, and putting him on trial without bothering the local authorities with the whole affair.

Then under Bush, the term started covering not just abduction, but abduction to a black site or abduction straight to a country where torture was practiced.


I think you need to get your facts straight here. Suspects were rendered to Egypt and other countries in the mideast during the Clinton administration. You might be interested in reading this New Yorker article, particularly these two paragraphs:

A series of spectacular covert operations followed from this secret pact. On September 13, 1995, U.S. agents helped kidnap Talaat Fouad Qassem, one of Egypt’s most wanted terrorists, in Croatia. Qassem had fled to Europe after being linked by Egypt to the assassination of Sadat; he had been sentenced to death in absentia. Croatian police seized Qassem in Zagreb and handed him over to U.S. agents, who interrogated him aboard a ship cruising the Adriatic Sea and then took him back to Egypt. Once there, Qassem disappeared. There is no record that he was put on trial. Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist who covers human-rights issues, said, “We believe he was executed.”
A more elaborate operation was staged in Tirana, Albania, in the summer of 1998. According to the Wall Street Journal, the C.I.A. provided the Albanian intelligence service with equipment to wiretap the phones of suspected Muslim militants. Tapes of the conversations were translated into English, and U.S. agents discovered that they contained lengthy discussions with Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy. The U.S. pressured Egypt for assistance; in June, Egypt issued an arrest warrant for Shawki Salama Attiya, one of the militants. Over the next few months, according to the Journal, Albanian security forces, working with U.S. agents, killed one suspect and captured Attiya and four others. These men were bound, blindfolded, and taken to an abandoned airbase, then flown by jet to Cairo for interrogation. Attiya later alleged that he suffered electrical shocks to his genitals, was hung from his limbs, and was kept in a cell in filthy water up to his knees. Two other suspects, who had been sentenced to death in absentia, were hanged.


The Bush administration increased the use of rendition, but the didn't do anything the Clinton administration hadn't already done on a smaller scale.
2.1.2009 12:58pm
Sarcastro (www):
Oh, I've known for a while about Obama's plan to Render the population into a green food-substance. I think I saw a documentary about it once.

But it won't be the terrorists. HOPELENT GREEN will be REPUBLICANS.
2.1.2009 1:03pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Rendition is a bigger issue for me than Gitmo. Closing Gitmo is just a symbolic move, and this suggests that we can expect a great deal of continuity of the bad policies under him.
2.1.2009 1:20pm
TA:
From the linked LAT article:


Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism -- aside from Predator missile strikes -- for taking suspected terrorists off the street.


Isn't it possible the keeping these people in CIA custody is both more humane and more useful from an intelligence point of view? Maybe that's why they did it...
2.1.2009 1:27pm
loki13 (mail):
This is interesting.

1. Given how little time he has been if office, don't we need to see what exactly is meant by this before either gloating or denouncing? Since as Morat pointed out, there are different types of rendition, perhaps Obama wants to end a particular practice of rendition that is particularly objectionable (blackhole renditions) while keeping the option open to take bad guys off the streets and bring them to trial? Wouldn't that be a common-sense way to alleviate the concerns of both the left and the right? In short, don't we need more information?

2. WRT the gloating- I'm not sure where this is coming from? Is it merely political? Do the commenters supra agree with blackhole rendition, and want to see it continued because it i necessary for our security (I remember this from previous threads)? If so, shouldn't you be thankful that after being fully apprised of the situation, Obama put the nation's security above political rhetoric? And if you're against it, isn't outrage the more appropriate emotion?

To sum up, it seems early in the Presidency to already be acting like this. If you supported it before, you should be supportive of Obama, not disdainful. If not, you should be outraged, not gleeful. And regardless, we don't know enough yet to form an opinion.
2.1.2009 1:34pm
Blar (mail) (www):
The main problem with Bush era (and some Clinton era) extraordinary rendition is that we were sending detainees off to get tortured in other countries. That's what I've thought since I started to learn about the issue in January 2004 from Katherine's posts at Obsidian Wings, and that's the way that they consistently described it at Obsidian Wings. For instance:
"Extraordinary rendition" is the euphemism we use for sending terrorism suspects to countries that practice torture for interrogation. As one intelligence official described it in the Washington Post, "We don't kick the sh*t out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the sh*t out of them."

If Obama puts an end to this practice of outsourcing torture (as it looks like he is doing) I will be pleased. I may not be pleased with some of the other things that he does with detainees (that remains to be seen), but few things are as bad as having people tortured. Let's not get these things mixed up.
2.1.2009 1:49pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> If you supported it before, you should be supportive of Obama, not disdainful.

Huh?

He campaigned against it. He trashed folks who supported it. And now, he's not even honest about what he's doing.

Let's apply the standard suggested for Bush.

It's time for Obama to apologize for his mistake.

However, it's unclear what follows the apology. Were the BDS folks going to support Bush after the apologies that they demanded? Or, did they still want him to resign?

Either way, the same should apply to Obama.
2.1.2009 1:51pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
I've said it before but I'll say it again: The US Navy used to hand over slavers to the Royal Navy for summary execution because the American officers knew that if they brought them to the nearest US port (as the law was written) for trial, Southern juries would acquit.

The state has its reasons.
2.1.2009 2:15pm
TA:
Interest quote from a NYT Op-Ed:

Out of Sight
By REUEL MARC GERECHT
December 13, 2008, NYT


Mr. Obama will soon face the same awful choices that confronted George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and he could well be forced to accept a central feature of their anti-terrorist methods: extraordinary rendition. If the choice is between non-deniable aggressive questioning conducted by Americans and deniable torturous interrogations by foreigners acting on behalf of the United States, it is almost certain that as president Mr. Obama will choose the latter.


Mr. Gerecht considers the possibility that Obama will just get "lucky", and the "bad guys" (who's existence we've just rediscovered) won't have any big plans. If not, Obama will have to use whatever tools are at his disposal, just as GW Bush did. Except, I suspect, that Obama will be much more concerned with appearance, and less concerned with humanitarian outcomes, that was Bush.
2.1.2009 2:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"If so, shouldn't you be thankful that after being fully apprised of the situation, Obama put the nation's security above political rhetoric? And if you're against it, isn't outrage the more appropriate emotion?"

Those who claimed these things were necessary to combat terrorism were right, and Obama now agrees. Those who oppose them now oppose Obama unless their principles have changed.

We should also point out the hypocrisy of the human rights groups so fewer people are fooled the next time they start campaigning on principle.
2.1.2009 2:35pm
loki13 (mail):

Let's apply the standard suggested for Bush.


I have seen a variation of this maxim so many times (usually it's the sauce for the goose...). I'm not sure I understand the utility of this? Do you use it other times?

A white person killed a black person yesterday, so it's okay for a black person to kill a white person today?

Why is it okay to simply cede any moral highground? Why do rush to the lowest common denominator? I think a better maxim would be-
"I'd like to have my cake and eat it too!"

In short, you want to be able to accuse one side of disloyalty, stupidity, and BDS whenever they oppose you, and yet act just as deranged. This allows you to avoid the moral question at the center- is the action correct or not? You can merely be partisan (if my side does it, it's okay, and if the other side does it, it isn't, because they were critical when we were doing it) without re-thinking the underlying issue.

If you support unlimited rendition, you should be cautiously optimistic that Obama would re-examine his promise in light of reality instead of stubbornly demand it be done.

Or, if he is dialing it back, you should be criticizing him for not allowing (say) blakchole rendition.

Anything else is partisan sophistry.
2.1.2009 2:41pm
TA:
Elliot123: "We should also point out the hypocrisy..."

Yes. I'm also disturbed by the refusal to deal with the moral dilemma.

Nobody (who is of relevance to this discussion) likes "interrogation", but there will always be times when it is the only way to prevent a terrorist atrocity. Opinions can vary widely on this. I can respect someone (like Christopher Hitchens, if I'm not mistaken) who says we should never waterboard, even if it saves 100 lives. I can't respect someone who hasn't given the dilemma a moment's thought.
2.1.2009 2:59pm
SecurityGeek:
There is nothing to judge until this actually happens under Obama's watch. Rendition is difficult to ban because I think the vast majority of people believe that:

1) There are circumstances where the US is justified in grabbing somebody in another country.

2) There are circumstances where the right thing to do is to return a suspect to their home country.

What's not ok is some of the bone-headed bordering on evil actions taken by the Bushies, like:

3) Kidnapping an innocent Canadian citizen and sending him to Syria to be tortured for a year.

The treatment of these individuals, wherever they are kept, is partially our responsibility once our government detains them. The Bush Administration liked to play "olly olly oxen free" and declare themselves immune the moment they dropped off a suspect in a dank dungeon in the Middle East.
2.1.2009 3:05pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
The American people will blame all attacks by foreign terrorists within the United States, during the Obama administration, on the Obama administration's weakness and pusillanimity.

The real reason won't matter, though as a practical matter this public opinion will likely be somewhat to largely correct.

The Obama administration has to be perfect here, and I don't think we will be so lucky.
2.1.2009 3:09pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Render unto Obama that which is Obama's.

Wait a second. I thought we were talking about taxes, not terrorists. Sorry about that. I mean to say, render them to Marin County and next door to ACLU lawyers where they can live amongst their biggest fans and supporters.
2.1.2009 3:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
loki.
I think you missed the point. At least part of the point. The point is not what we should or should not be doing, or whether it's okay if O does it (it is, fyi) or anything like that.
The point is that O's supporters are now swallowing and trying to smile in order to justify their vote--which was in part against such things.
Funny as hell.
2.1.2009 3:32pm
Sarcastro (www):
The real world confronting idealists and winning. Funny now, funny in 1960 and funny this past November!
2.1.2009 3:37pm
Constantin:
(1) Thomas Holsinger is right, and Obama knows it. The people who bought the Hope and Change (tm) routine are among the most hapless marks in American history.

(2) I anxiously await Benjamin Davis's take on this, and his first deranged post demanding a war crimes trial for Barack.
2.1.2009 3:41pm
loki13 (mail):

(2) I anxiously await Benjamin Davis's take on this, and his first deranged post demanding a war crimes trial for Barack.


Constantin is, of course, correct. When I think of Benjamin Davis, the first thing I think of is "unhinged". I mean, out of all the posters on this board, Benjamin Davis has to be the most "unhinged" out there!

Instead of being pleasant, and dropping in to talk about international law, he just comes in with invective and ad hominem attacks. He never sources what he says to, like, legal stuff. He hides behind a shield of anonymity. He clearly has no credibility in his field.

Yes, unhinged is definitely the word I was looking for.
2.1.2009 3:48pm
TA:

SecurityGeek:

"What's not ok is some of the bone-headed bordering on evil actions taken by the Bushies, like:

3) Kidnapping an innocent Canadian citizen and sending him to Syria to be tortured for a year."

If you're referring to Maher Arar, he was detained at JFK airport, then deported to Syria. This was based on information from the Canadian government that he was a terrorist, which has since stated that this information was faulty.

I accept the larger point, that rendition should never be based on faulty information, but do we need to assume that those responsible for the deportation were 'evil'?
2.1.2009 3:52pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Constantin,

I believe Leon Panetta, Obama's nominee as CIA Director, was Clinton's White House Chief of Staff when the Clinton administration started its extraordinary renditions.
2.1.2009 3:54pm
Harvey Mosley (mail):

Oh, I've known for a while about Obama's plan to Render the population into a green food-substance. I think I saw a documentary about it once.

But it won't be the terrorists. HOPELENT GREEN will be REPUBLICANS.


Sarcastro, I think this is your best comment EVER.
2.1.2009 3:55pm
Matthew K:
Wow, the partisan stupidity is really getting grating.

During the campaign, Obama came out against torture. He is....still against torture. I don't see why, as an Obama supporter, I should be upset by any of this. Sometimes "rendition" means "torture indefinitely without due process"....and sometimes it doesn't. Likewise "interrogation" sometimes means "torture"....and sometimes it doesn't. Just because Bush perverted the English language doesn't mean that Obama is doing the same.

I think Loki13's and securitygeek's posts have it about right.
2.1.2009 4:01pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Matthew K.,

We're exploiting factionalism on your side. The Obama administration, and Obama, do pervert terms, though not to anywhere near the degree their supporters do. But it still creates recreational opportunities.
2.1.2009 4:09pm
SecurityGeek:

I accept the larger point, that rendition should never be based on faulty information, but do we need to assume that those responsible for the deportation were 'evil'?


If those responsible sent him to Syria, a country we (accurately) condemn as a sponsor of terrorism and thuggish autocracy, with the express purpose of having him tortured, they are evil.

It's actually pretty simple, and I'm surprised so many intelligent folks don't get this. Sending people in our control to other nations to be tortured is evil.

There is a lot of gray area in returning criminals to nations with justice systems we disagree with, but there isn't gray area here. Members of the US government asked the Syrians for information and knew how they would get it, and sent him anyway because they didn't want the blood on their hands. Evil. Not too complicated.

Doing this while condemning that nation for it's evil actions adds an extra spicy touch of hypocrisy that only helps to undermine our ability to parlay the ideals of our nation into soft power. In the long run, we lose our soul as a liberal democracy while making it more difficult to convince other people to do what we want without shooting them. This is true if the President is a Ignorant-Born-Again-Frat-Boy, or if he's a Secret-Muslim-Socialist-Terrorist, and people on both sides should condemn Obama if he follows this path as well.
2.1.2009 4:10pm
Cornellian (mail):

"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.


I suppose that depends very much on the country. There's a world of
difference between handing someone over to Syria and handing someone
over to, for example, Canada.
2.1.2009 4:16pm
Constantin:
Good, Loki. I'm glad you agree with me.

Seriously, I can't wait for the guy's pleasant, full of credibility post on how Obama should be strung up. Because that's the standard he's (non-derangedly, of course) set for GOP presidents.
2.1.2009 4:17pm
loki13 (mail):

We're exploiting factionalism on your side. . . But it still creates recreational opportunities.


Partisan schadenfreude is a terrible way to govern. But I guess the American people realized that recently, didn't they?

*smile*
2.1.2009 4:19pm
Constantin:
And for the record, I wanted Obama to be president less than anybody else in this country did, including the guy he ran against, and I'm very glad to see this development. It's probably one of the few things I'll agree with him on.
2.1.2009 4:23pm
Vapid Hollywood Actor (mail):
But I feel entirely different now. And I pledge to sacrificially smile more.
2.1.2009 4:31pm
mattski:
The real world confronting idealists and winning. Funny now, funny in 1960 and funny this past November!

Look, I'm just a liberal panty-waist Balkinization refugee so I don't have the protocol here down but it sure sounds like you're cheering on the march of human folly.

What is so funny about trying to keep the human condition on the up and up? There were folks scattered throughout our history who did this. Many, like Jesus, Ghandi, and MLK were killed as a result and yet the civilized world looks up to them as guiding lights. I'm curious how one derives humor from the humiliation of nobler ambitions.
2.1.2009 4:38pm
Nermous (mail):
Once again, another leftist media double standard. Before Jan. 20, Rendition was a severe incursion into global human rights. After Jan. 20, Rendition is a legitimate counter-terrorism tool that just needs a little refinement.
2.1.2009 4:40pm
Jonathan Rubinstein (mail) (www):
Tomorrow is Day 6. North Korea is threatening war with its brothers to the South. Iran has sent at least one boatload of weapons in contravention of UN resolutions which the United States declined to seize. Sitting in Cyprus where bargaining is ongoing, Israelis offshore. Missiles fired into Israel and an Iranian version of the Chinese Silkworm test-fired into the Sea. Israel said to have sent SMS messages to residents in southern Gaza, presumably preceding attack.
Parsing rendition is the least of the matters facing the President, overlooking for the moment the egregious tax evasion of two members of his Cabinet. (Let's be frank here. If this was any R. there would be howling in all directions, and rightly so.) While Iraq pulled off an election, the other two monkeys are challenging him overtly.
2.1.2009 4:46pm
Sarcastro (www):
[

sounds like you're cheering on the march of human folly.

In general, do not take my unbracketed posts as truth. Mostly I poke fun at the more rabid conservatives on this blog.

My point is more how silly it is for the right wingers here to chortle about how the left isn't demanding Obama go all Rambo and singlehandedly freed the Gitmo detainees.

The irony of the right demanding the left be less realistic and more like the hippie straw man the right has in their head is where the true amusement lies.]
2.1.2009 4:51pm
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
The problem is that too many people watch "24" and think that "ticking timebomb" situations actually happen in real life. "I know where the bomb is, the timer's ticking down, but I won't tell where it is! Muahahah!" - that simply has never happened in all of human history, and it will never happen with a modern faith-based terrorist. Yes it makes for exciting television, but a horrible justification to allow torture (or whatever politically correct term you want to give it).

The problem is people see too much television to respond with "that's a load of crap" to the people who say "well what about the ticking timebomb situation!" to justify torture. It happens on TV all the time, so how can it be crap? Jack Bauer encounters it every hour, for crissakes.
2.1.2009 4:52pm
Jonathan Rubinstein (mail) (www):
Forgot to add one thing. If Obama enforces a ban on torture and initiates an intelligence gathering process based on empathic understanding combined with a determination both to understand those seized and convincing them WE WILL WIN, he will have served us all very well. Rendition for torture is conspiracy to commit the crime. Terrible idea.
2.1.2009 4:54pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
mattski:
What is so funny about trying to keep the human condition on the up and up? There were folks scattered throughout our history who did this. Many, like Jesus, Ghandi, and MLK were killed as a result and yet the civilized world looks up to them as guiding lights. I'm curious how one derives humor from the humiliation of nobler ambitions.


I think it's generally amusement at the double standard in the response - outrage when the right does it, cautious acceptance when the left does it. You'll see it most from people who supported extraordinary rendition to begin with. To quote Richard Aubrey's comment:
The point is that O's supporters are now swallowing and trying to smile in order to justify their vote--which was in part against such things.
Funny as hell.


Anyway, my response is a request for more specificity. If there's so much debate on the comment thread as to the meaning of "extraordinary rendition," then I'd like to figure out which one Obama's using, and what it allows and outlaws.
2.1.2009 5:08pm
loki13 (mail):
Personally, what I find outrageous is this. Obama promised that he would help:

"[t]he outsider, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don't have a lot of clout . . ."

Yet who does he root for during the Super Bowl? The (one for the other hand) Steelers!

C'mon, if any team was the outside, the minority, the vulnerable, a team without clout, it would be the Cards.

I demand Obama live up to his promises!
2.1.2009 5:11pm
TA:
SecurityGeek:

"If those responsible sent him to Syria, a country we (accurately) condemn as a sponsor of terrorism and thuggish autocracy, with the express purpose of having him tortured, they are evil."

Thanks, but the 'If' should have been in the original post. It means you assumed too much. This case is much more complicated than you think (for example, he was never 'kidnapped'). The Ottawa Citizen has been doing a good job of following up on this.

The main question remains, though. If there really is a good reason to believe that someone in transit at an American airport belongs to a terrorist group, and he is a citizen of Syria, and we don't wish to deport him to Syria, what is supposed to happen? (Arar was a citizen of Syria and Canada).
2.1.2009 5:12pm
Matthew K:
If Obama and Bush meant the same thing when they said "rendition" then it would, of course, be sensible to have the same reaction to each. Obama's policy appears to be very different than Bush's. Different policies - > different reactions.

Not too hard to understand, no? When Obama hands someone over to Syria to be tortured I will be happy to condemn him too.
2.1.2009 5:26pm
TA:
Bruce_M:

"The problem is that too many people watch "24" and think that "ticking timebomb" situations actually happen in real life."

Information gained from interrogation of terrorists saves lives, even if a ticking time bomb isn't involved.
2.1.2009 5:27pm
MarkField (mail):
There's additional discussion of this article at Obsidian Wings.
2.1.2009 5:30pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"A white person killed a black person yesterday, so it's okay for a black person to kill a white person today?"

No. But when the black kills the white, he should be judged by the same standard that was applied to the white.

If those who called for trial of the white suddenly take a nuanced position supporting the black, it's time to call them on it.
2.1.2009 5:40pm
Sarcastro (www):
Glad to hear Eliot123 isn't actually planning to prejudge Obama. He's just going to keep on threatening to in order to call out all those hypocritical liberals who excoriated Bush yet somehow agree with Obama.

I have no doubt he'll treat Obama totally fairly, and not stoop to the slimy personality-based tactics of the liberals.
2.1.2009 5:55pm
TA:
Matthew K:

"Not too hard to understand, no? When Obama hands someone over to Syria to be tortured I will be happy to condemn him too."

The current Secretary of State was an important figure in the Clinton administration (it's fair to say) during which time rendition to Egypt was common.

She may have known nothing of this, but then didn't Obama appoint her because of all her foreign policy experience?
2.1.2009 5:56pm
mattski:
I think it's generally amusement at the double standard in the response -

I'm not convinced there is a double standard involved, certainly not at this time. Let's not be in such a rush find moral equivalence between this administration and the last. Let's wait and see how it unfolds, and let's not be in the thrall of our prejudices.
2.1.2009 5:57pm
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
Ew, the Obama apologists are out in full effect- parsing the meaning of "is" -- ooops, I mean "rendition." Because the US does not control the treatment of abductees after they are shipped off into the night, who knows what treatment they will receive. In fact, none of the people who attacked Bush has proven that his administration INTENDED to circumvent anti-torture law. Obama can make the same claim that Bush made (via Rice): we are not doing this to get around the law. And when people get bloodied, Obama can claim innocence, and his defenders will rush to the scene to distinguish him from the monster known as Bush.

For the record, I am far to the Left of Obama.....and (hopefully) far more consistent than his many cheerleaders. Apparently, the "Obama-Vegetative State" continues for some progressives....
2.1.2009 6:00pm
Matthew K:
Re Update:

Or maybe Hilzoy is right and there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to this. Just a thought.
2.1.2009 6:12pm
DiversityHire:
Or maybe Obama is just another politician practicing the situational ethics of power?

Marketing is all well and good, but ultimately Pepsi is still sugar water.
2.1.2009 6:21pm
TA:
"UPDATE: Hilzoy thinks there is less to the story than meets the eye. A real possibility is that the Obama Administration probably recognizes the utility of rendition, and wants it available for extreme circumstances, but also wants it done more responsibly."

Yeah, that's it. More responsibly.
2.1.2009 6:27pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
TA,

My recollection is that we sent Arar to Syria because the Canadians said they didn't want him. AFAIK, the U.S. signed a treaty or treaties requiring that we give non-citizen bad guys' own governments dibs on 'em if the governments so request. And that the Bush administration always honored this obligation, with the exception of the Chinese Uighurs. Canada didn't want Arar, but Syria did and we were told he had dual Canadian/Syrian citizenship so we honored the Syrians' call on dibs.

There was one wonderful incident during Bush's first term in which the British Foreign Minister mouthed off about the alleged horrors some of Her Majesty's subjects were suffering at Gitmo, so we put the dudes in question on the first plane to Heathrow and told Tony Blair they were now his responsibility. And he told his Foreign Minister to shut the hell up.
2.1.2009 6:34pm
TA:
Thomas_Holsinger:

Thanks, it was never clear to me why the INS didn't send him on to Canada, but it did make sense that if he couldn't go to Canada he would have to go back to Syria, since he was a Syrian citizen. Anyway, this is the simplest explanation.
2.1.2009 6:41pm
geokstr:

SecurityGeek:
3) Kidnapping an innocent Canadian citizen and sending him to Syria to be tortured for a year.

I've seen the left trot this Maher Arar out at every opportunity to "prove" the evilness of BusHitler. I just did a little googling to read up on him and came upon this interesting article:
What really happened to Maher Arar?

It seems the only proof that he was "tortured" by anybody was from his own testimony. He supposedly was constantly whipped with 2-inch electrical cable, and beaten with fists, and yet showed no physical signs of injury, even less than a week after he was "tortured". Oh, and there was "corroborating" testimony from 3 others jihadis who supposedly suffered the same fate, but not at the same time as Arar, but then again, the first thing that these psychotics are told to do is claim to have been "tortured" whenever they see a lawyer or a reporter.

In addition, in new testimony from Omar Khadr in a Guantanamo courtroom, he claims to have seen Arar in an Afghani safehouse on a number of occasions:
Omar Khadr

But Arar says he's never even been to Afghanistan (even though he is unwilling or unable to account for his whereabouts in 1993, when he is alleged to have been there), so how can that be?

It must be just another case of BusHitler and his legion of evil henchmen trying to cover up their unspeakable crimes against humanity, right? But maybe it was a just another propaganda ploy by the sufferers of BDS.
2.1.2009 6:47pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
The people who complain about Arar have been very careful not to mention that the Canadia government told the U.S. government that Canada DID NOT WANT us to send Mr. Arar to Canada. And the Syrians did.

This is because the truth is agin 'em. So they lie.
2.1.2009 6:48pm
BGates:
Partisan schadenfreude is a terrible way to govern.
Which is a damn shame, because it's the Democrats' greatest strength.
2.1.2009 6:53pm
DangerMouse:
Why is anyone surprised that the Obama cultists are covering for the Messiah's lies? When your candidate supports infanticide, there's going to be some self-imposed delusion. Now that he's president, THE ONE will break any promise he wants with impunity because he knows his delusional followers will give him appropriate cover. Every cult that engages in extreme acts always has an appropriate excuse. This one's excuse seems to be: nothing will stop the hopeNchange train, not even a little torture.

What's amazing to me is the attempt to shame the libs here by the charge of hypocrisy. Liberals will never be shamed by hypocrisy (for the simple reason that they believe morality is relative and they can change the meaning of "good" depending on their situation). Feminists still believe Clinton was a great president notwithstanding his sexual harassment. The MSM still believes that Republicans are corrupt notwithstanding Daschle, Rangel, Geithner, Frank, Dodd, etc. Forget about hypocrisy - just go for the real meat. If Obama is doing torture, charge him with torture.
2.1.2009 6:55pm
Sarcastro (www):

4 witnesses

versus

Canada doesn't like him.


Clearly, the truth is that he's a terrorist that wasn't tortured.

Not that there's anything wrong with torturing terrorists, mind you.

But maybe this guy is more a liar than a terrorist and therefore shouldn't have been tortured.

Which is good, because he totally wasn't tortured.

Though if he had been, it would have been okay, since he's a terrorist.

Though Canada did apologize and find him innocent, they're wussies anyhow who would be cowed into apologizing to a terrorist.

Or maybe they were apologizing to a non-terrorist. That would be fine since he wasn't tortured.

And Syria may agree he isn't a terrorist, but that place is lousy with terrorists, so you shouldn't believe them. Though if they were right and he was just a guy that's fine cause he totally wasn't tortured.
2.1.2009 6:56pm
Perseus (mail):
Do the commenters supra agree with blackhole rendition, and want to see it continued because it is necessary for our security (I remember this from previous threads)? If so, shouldn't you be thankful that after being fully apprised of the situation, Obama put the nation's security above political rhetoric?

Insofar as President Obama continues the previous practice of extraordinary rendition, I am pleased that he has appeared to "grow" in office. Only a fool, however, would expect gratitude from people whom the Anointed One sanctimoniously censured for supporting the policy.

Many, like Jesus, Ghandi, and MLK were killed as a result and yet the civilized world looks up to them as guiding lights. I'm curious how one derives humor from the humiliation of nobler ambitions.

Read Machiavelli. He is quite humorous (even if darkly so) in his humiliation of unarmed prophets.
2.1.2009 6:56pm
RPT (mail):
"Holsinger [and cohorts]:

The American people will blame all attacks by foreign terrorists within the United States, during the Obama administration, on the Obama administration's weakness and pusillanimity."

Your collective desire for another terrorist attack, so that you can be proven "right", is palpable but unseemly. When will Rush Limbaugh chime in?
2.1.2009 7:11pm
Ken Arromdee:
Many, like Jesus, Ghandi, and MLK were killed as a result and yet the civilized world looks up to them as guiding lights.

Because any of the larger number of such people who were killed and not looked up to as guiding lights, would be someone that nobody's heard of. And if nobody's heard of them, they make poor examples. It's like saying that all the movies from the 1960s were good and all the music was hits. No, they're not; the ones that people still remember today are good. Selection bias.

Besides, Gandhi got very lucky; he was fighting against a foe who was fairly civilized, and so 1) was limited in what tactics it would use against him, and 2) was not fanatical about destroying its foes.

MLK depended on a game of "good cop, bad cop" with violent radicals as bad cops. (And of course, we know how much death happened in Jesus' name, and how much that contributed to Jesus being looked up to nowadays. You may remember Jesus as a man of peace, but you remember him at all because at some point some guy came through a town with a sword and made forced everyone to worship Jesus.)
2.1.2009 7:18pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
RPT,

Lefties like you love to play blame the victim games. And to contend that those who see trouble coming advocate it.

Grow up, idjit.

Obama and his administration are very well aware that the American people will blame them for doing too little if we are hit at home again, which is why extraordinary rendition, etc., will continue. They are doing what they can, within the limits of what their base will tolerate, to minimize that risk.

Which won't save them if it happens, but will somewhat reduce the chances of it happening.
2.1.2009 7:45pm
SG:
Duing the campaign when Obama was trying to be all things to all people, I said that someone was going to be disappointed. I assumed it would be me. But it turns out that, so far, I'm not disappointed (at least foreign policy-wise). I'm pleasantly pleased to be wrong.

It is fascinating to watch gymnastics his supporters will go through to avoid it being them who are disappointed either. Cognitive dissonance can make people twist themselves into knots...
2.1.2009 7:46pm
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
To the folks trying to defend Human Rights Watch: Let it go! The organization previously called for the complete cessation of rendition -- not just for purposes of torture. The organization took the postion that it was impossible to ensure the prevention of torture through diplomatic channels. The groups has FLIP-FLOPPED on such a critical issue. Compromising one's values for a politician? How anti-Left is that??? Major Flip-Flop by Human Rights Watch: Organization Waiting for Obama to Develop Kinder, Gentler Rendition Program
2.1.2009 7:49pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Ken,

Christianity spread almost entirely through conversion. Islam spread mostly through conversion, believe it or not. Political control is simply not the same as religious conversion. The Arabs' initial conquests did not result in immediate conversions on the scale you envisage because they respected the Christian majorities where they conquered, and the after-conquest conversion process took centuries.

Furthermore Islam spread almost entirely by conversion from the Indian subcontinent east.
2.1.2009 7:54pm
Oxybaramic Iranian Mullah (mail):
Gitmo to Close?

Hasn't. We're not remotely close to that point.

Rendition to Cease?

Hasn't. Shouldn't. Likely won't.

Kentucky to freeze w/o FEMA's and Obama's help while more than forty people have died?

Yep.

Will ObaMedia care?

Unlikely. So far, Nope.
2.1.2009 7:56pm
MarkField (mail):

It seems the only proof that he was "tortured" by anybody was from his own testimony.


His torturers so wanted to testify, but they just couldn't rearrange their schedules. Sadly, they had forgotten to tape this one.
2.1.2009 7:57pm
DiversityHire:
Kinder, Gentler Rendition Program

That's funny: temperament-wise, Obama reminds me of George H.W. Bush. Other ways, too.
2.1.2009 8:07pm
trad and anon:
This does not look good. I wasn't pleased by how he handled the Gitmo closing either, because he didn't promise any substantive changes. I am already unhappy with this administration.
2.1.2009 8:48pm
geokstr:

MarkField (mail):

It seems the only proof that he was "tortured" by anybody was from his own testimony.

His torturers so wanted to testify, but they just couldn't rearrange their schedules. Sadly, they had forgotten to tape this one.

Nice try Mark. However, there was never any objective medical testimony from ANYBODY at the $23 MILLION dollar investigation into this alleged "torture". Hmmmm...want to speculate on why that might have been?

NO ONE, including the members of the Canadian consulate who visited him shortly after he was "tortured", nor the people who have seen him since he was released, have noted ANY physical signs of "torture" - period. So what did the commission do - it tried to discredit the testimony of their own official. After all, who were they gonna believe -the official BDS dogma or his lyin' eyes?

Typical Muslim taqqiyah - lying sanctioned by the Koran to advance the cause of Islam against the infidels. They know only too well that they will have lots of useful idiots in the West that will believe anything bad they say about BusHitler.

This whole case smells fishy - we send someone we suspect is a terrorist to a country that loves terrorism - and they "torture" him for a year. Why would they "torture" someone who's on their team, anyway? You actually believe that Syria was really on our side back then?

Did you even read the articles I linked to? No? I'm shocked. The intense cognative dissonance might have made your head explode.
2.1.2009 8:50pm
RPT (mail):
"Holsinger:

RPT,

Lefties like you love to play blame the victim games. And to contend that those who see trouble coming advocate it."

"Bin Laden Determined To Strike Within US"......"No One could Have Ever Predicted"....

One of the best attributes of thus blog is the application of conclusionary derogatory terms to label people the accuser doesn't even know.
2.1.2009 8:54pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Glad to hear Eliot123 isn't actually planning to prejudge Obama. He's just going to keep on threatening to in order to call out all those hypocritical liberals who excoriated Bush yet somehow agree with Obama."

There is no need to prejudge him or his supporters. His statements and actions to date provide all the material needed to call out all those hypocritical liberals who excoriated Bush yet somehow agree with Obama. And there is likely so much more to come.
2.1.2009 9:20pm
LM (mail):

I mean, out of all the posters on this board, Benjamin Davis has to be the most "unhinged" out there!

What really ticks me off is that whole "Best, Ben" thing. He obviously hates us with a passion. Why doesn't he just admit it?
2.1.2009 9:23pm
LM (mail):
Elliot,

His statements and actions to date provide all the material needed to call out all those hypocritical liberals who excoriated Bush yet somehow agree with Obama.

Then you should have no trouble showing actual examples of people contradicting themselves.
2.1.2009 9:29pm
BGates:
Your collective desire for another terrorist attack, so that you can be proven "right", is palpable but unseemly.
The Senate Majority Leader crowed that we had lost a war and his party would pick up seats as a result. (We've won the war.) The statement you objected to was a truism with an explanation appended. "The Obama administration will be blamed for terrorist attacks on the US during the Obama administration" - substitute Bush, Palin, Palmer, the sentence still works.

Then you should have no trouble showing actual examples of people contradicting themselves.

Look for the name "Human Rights Watch" in this thread.
2.1.2009 9:58pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):
Since our ability to interrogate terrorists is now compromised, the logical conclusion is to turn over captured terrorists to allies who would no doubt treat them with kid gloves.


This whole case smells fishy - we send someone we suspect is a terrorist to a country that loves terrorism - and they "torture" him for a year. Why would they "torture" someone who's on their team, anyway? You actually believe that Syria was really on our side back then?

If we wanted experts to interrogate terrorists, we would send the terrorists to Israel.

The US Navy used to hand over slavers to the Royal Navy for summary execution because the American officers knew that if they brought them to the nearest US port (as the law was written) for trial, Southern juries would acquit.

No doubt Human Rights Watch would oppose that

Rendition is a bigger issue for me than Gitmo.

Rendition keeps our hands clean, as long as the renditionee is not an American citizen or a resident alien
2.1.2009 10:27pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
We've been through the arguments about torture and rendition before. Over and over.
The real punch to this one is the change in lineup.
As Daniel Craig said in "The Road to Perdition", "It's so effin' hilarious." Something like that.
And the arguments that it isn't really a change are just as funny.
2.1.2009 10:37pm
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
another interesting thing....the executive orders requiring the closing of gitmo within a year, and the immediate closure of cia prisons. the gitmo inmates will be farmed out to other locations. the anti-torture orders apply only to usa personnel (for obvious reasons). so....if rendition continues....if transfers are mandatory - since the prisons are closing....then everything regarding rendition from the bush administration remains perfectly legal.
2.1.2009 10:42pm
MarkField (mail):

NO ONE, including the members of the Canadian consulate who visited him shortly after he was "tortured", nor the people who have seen him since he was released, have noted ANY physical signs of "torture" - period.


I guess the Canadians just figured that $10 million would cover the cost of his lost vacation.
2.1.2009 10:55pm
LM (mail):
DangerMouse:

Liberals will never be shamed by hypocrisy (for the simple reason that they believe morality is relative and they can change the meaning of "good" depending on their situation).

That's nothing. We can change the laws of time and space. You think we're anti-war? Ha! We'd just rather go back in time and kill our enemies when they're infants. Then we make everyone get some gay abortions, and we laugh, and laugh, and laugh....
2.1.2009 11:17pm
:):
"I don't see why, as an Obama supporter, I should be upset by any of this. Sometimes "rendition" means "torture indefinitely without due process"....and sometimes it doesn't. Likewise "interrogation" sometimes means "torture"....and sometimes it doesn't."

And sometimes "waterboarding" means "torture indefinitely without due process"....and sometimes it doesn't.

Such nuance! The critics never allowed such shades of gray before. I wonder what changed...
2.1.2009 11:40pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Then you should have no trouble showing actual examples of people contradicting themselves."

HWR before Obama election:
"Repudiate the use of rendition to torture as a counterterrorism tactic and permanently discontinue the CIA's rendition program;"

HRW after Obama election:
"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch."

It's too much to post it all. Link.
2.1.2009 11:40pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Coercive interrogation of captured terrorists is torture during a Republican administraion.

Torture of captured terorrists is nuanced interrogation during a Democratic administration.
2.1.2009 11:52pm
Fen:
Fen's Law: "The Left doesn't really believe in the things they lecture us about"
2.1.2009 11:57pm
Kazinski:
This isn't really Obama's fault, though of course he can be faulted for hypocrisy.

We shouldn't need extraordinary rendition, or Gitmo, the only reason they have become necessary is because the misuse of criminal law and constitutional protections applied to those that are not entitled to them. This misuse of the law has forced at least the last three administrations into various contortions to get around these laws that were never designed or intended to apply to prisoners of war or illegal combatants.

Of course the same thing is happening world wide, where the British and Germans look the other way at piracy around the Horn of Africa because of fear they may have to give the pirates asylum, rather than hanging them.
2.1.2009 11:57pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

@ Morat

"What type of rendition? Prior to Bush, the US (among other countries) quietly practiced the art of occasionally snatching someone, spiriting him to the US, and putting him on trial without bothering the local authorities with the whole affair."

If you think this is what rendition is then you have absolutely no idea what rendition is.
2.2.2009 12:31am
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
Information gained from interrogation of terrorists saves lives, even if a ticking time bomb isn't involved.

Interrogation (as in asking question of a guilty person once they are captured) yes. Torture, no. Don't set up a straw man - nobody is saying we should never ask a terrorist any question. They could even play good cop, bad cop. But anything that involves painful physical contact does not get useful information, and it's below the standards of America.

Also, faith-based criminals don't flip as easily as normal criminals. They were doing/preparing their crime not for money or drugs or women, but to go to heaven (where they'll have money, drugs, and women...). If they were part of a conspiracy, they can still succeed by staying quiet and hoping their coconspirators succeed. The police/interrogators can't take away the hope and dreams of a faith-based criminal, they can only hasten those dreams with threats of death. They want to die, because the purpose of the crime was to get them into heaven. And no interrogator is going to convince them otherwise.
2.2.2009 12:32am
DangerMouse:
Fen's Law: "The Left doesn't really believe in the things they lecture us about"

Bingo. The left believes in Power, that's it. Republicans would be advised to ignore the left and talk to conservatives and middle America. The left will say and do anything to achieve and hold power. Of course they wouldn't want to give up a tool like rendition now that they're in office.

The ironic thing is that the breaking of this campaign promise is probably the only thing that can be pinned on the the Messiah. All the rest of his campaign was empty platitudes about hopeNchange, which of course didn't go over well given that the stimulus bill right now is the biggest has of Democrat wish-fulfillment since Nina Burleigh said she'd give Bill Clinton a b.j. in order to keep abortion legal.
2.2.2009 1:09am
Ricardo (mail):
Typical Muslim taqqiyah - lying sanctioned by the Koran to advance the cause of Islam against the infidels. They know only too well that they will have lots of useful idiots in the West that will believe anything bad they say about BusHitler.

In other words, when a Muslim says he has been tortured in custody, don't believe him. When another Muslim starts fingering alleged co-conspirators, then give him the benefit of the doubt.

This whole case smells fishy - we send someone we suspect is a terrorist to a country that loves terrorism - and they "torture" him for a year. Why would they "torture" someone who's on their team, anyway? You actually believe that Syria was really on our side back then?

Syria is the country that bombarded the town of Hama which had been a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood -- somewhere between 6,000 and 40,000 civilians were killed in the operation. Syria likes Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists who only threaten the stability of Israel and Lebanon but hates those terrorist groups that threaten its own stability.

What's "fishy" anyway? Bush Administration officials claim Syria cooperated with the U.S. against Al-Qaeda at that time. So what's with the BDS from you?
2.2.2009 1:37am
Kirk:
TA,
I accept the larger point, that rendition should never be based on faulty information
Huh? Perfection is available in this world? The information we acted on was not know to be faulty when we acted on it.

Bruce_M,
But anything that involves painful physical contact does not get useful information
And you know this is true, for now and all time, how exactly?
2.2.2009 1:58am
BGates:
when a Muslim says he has been tortured in custody, don't believe him.
If your mother says she loves you, check it out.

When a Muslim gives a story of his treatment that is consistent with both the brutal practices of the regimes to which Obama wants to extend an open hand, and with the responses prescribed for captured terrorists in al Qaeda training manuals, assume it's the former.

When another Muslim starts fingering alleged co-conspirators, then give him the benefit of the doubt.
I'd like to know more about the circumstances under which Khadr identified Arar. If he was ordered, "Admit you know Maher Arar, the man in this photo," that's of no use. But if he was given unlabelled photos of 6 Arabs and asked "who do you know?" and replied "the second guy. His name is Maher Arar" - that's something else. I don't know which version is closer to the truth.
2.2.2009 2:39am
Neo (mail):
multiple exceptions to his order barring lobbyists

The India Times (notice it's not a US paper) has the count now at 17.
2.2.2009 7:19am
wfjag:

Syria is the country that bombarded the town of Hama which had been a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood -- somewhere between 6,000 and 40,000 civilians were killed in the operation. Syria likes Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists who only threaten the stability of Israel and Lebanon but hates those terrorist groups that threaten its own stability.

Hama is the Syrian city that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)took over by killing all of the Syrian security forces in it, all members of the Alawite tribe (the ruling tribe in the Syrian government), anyone associated with or (possibly) sympathetic to the Alawite tribe, anyone that any member of the MB had a grudge against or or owed money to, or (fill in the blank), and anyone who wasn't sufficiently religious enough in the opinion of MB members (decisions not infrequently made on the spot). Depending on the estimate, the MB killed between 5,000 and 17,000 "civilians" in Hama -- up to 50,000 according to some (Syrian government sympathetic) sources before the Syrian government moved to "restore order" and "somewhere between 6,000 and 40,000 civilians were killed in the operation."

The Middle East -- a rough neighborhood.
2.2.2009 7:40am
mattski:
Bingo. The left believes in Power, that's it.

Well, I can tell you what I think. I consider myself a liberal and to me that means I believe in treating people well whenever possible. I believe that all people are basically similar in nature ("created equal" you might say) and that it is ignorance which is at the root of hatred and other damaging emotions.

Some people, unfortunately, get so damaged by hatred and other strong negative emotions that they become essentially damaged goods. Certainly, many religious extremists fit that description. But you and I should be on guard about pre-judging people. Not only that, we should be on guard about repetitive, prejudicial thoughts that may be (obsessively?) playing in our heads.

A wise man once said, "Hatred is never appeased by hatred, it is only appeased by love." I believe that.
2.2.2009 7:48am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
mattski.
That would be nice, if it were infallible.
Is it infallible?
Or could you be dead before you got done with the appeasement?
2.2.2009 7:59am
Sarcastro (www):
mattski? More like CHAMBERLAIN! Cause everything is like World War 2.

Better to kill them all. Safer that way.

Stupid left, only believing in power.
2.2.2009 8:05am
aloysiusmiller (mail):
Give Republicans an inch and Democrats take a mile.
2.2.2009 8:06am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
It ain't the issues, guys.
It's the change in lineup.
It's the pretending to think what you opposed so ferociously is different this time.
It's the desperate attempt to fool yourselves that it isn't obvious as hell.
Effin' hilarious, I calls it.
2.2.2009 8:22am
wfjag:

It won't be too long before Sarcastro's comments are statements of fact.

Sarcastro wrote:

Stupid left, only believing in power.


Kudos to Dissenting Justice for coining the phrase and defining "Obama-Vegetative State". It is worthy of inclusion in DSM-IV-RT.

"Progressives" are becoming a parody of themselves.
2.2.2009 8:34am
davod (mail):

"What type of rendition? Prior to Bush, the US (among other countries) quietly practiced the art of occasionally snatching someone, spiriting him to the US, and putting him on trial without bothering the local authorities with the whole affair.

Then under Bush, the term started covering not just abduction, but abduction to a black site or abduction straight to a country where torture was practiced."

Rubbish. The Clinton administration rendered people to foreign countries. There is one instance where the ratbag was sent to Egypt. He was returned to the USA for trial. At the trial evidence was proffered that the Egyptians roasted, yes, roasted, the guy. The judge let in the evidence.
2.2.2009 9:00am
Katl L (mail):
Kidnapping an innocent Canadian citizen and sending him to Syria to be tortured for a year.
Syria ? are you talking about the former president of the UN human rights Commision?
The english tried to send back there a muslim iman who teach how to beat women but for no avail they were prevented from do that
Extraordnary rendition ? it began in 1993 with Clinton , the same fellow that bombed a farmaceutical facilitie,with the applause of Gore, his antiterror Czar dixit.
It was the ultraliberal Hugo Black who advanced the argument of the ticking bomb ,in 1958
2.2.2009 9:18am
Sarcastro (www):
wfjag is right. I am totally a parody of the left. By agreeing with what I say, wfjag is in no way stumbling into some sort of meta-ironic self-parody.
2.2.2009 9:27am
ThomasD (mail):

This isn't really Obama's fault, though of course he can be faulted for hypocrisy.

We shouldn't need extraordinary rendition, or Gitmo, the only reason they have become necessary is because the misuse of criminal law and constitutional protections applied to those that are not entitled to them. This misuse of the law has forced at least the last three administrations into various contortions to get around these laws that were never designed or intended to apply to prisoners of war or illegal combatants.

Of course the same thing is happening world wide, where the British and Germans look the other way at piracy around the Horn of Africa because of fear they may have to give the pirates asylum, rather than hanging them.


Thread winner.
2.2.2009 9:36am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
kati:

Extraordnary rendition ? it began in 1993 with Clinton


Rendition seems to have started with Reagan. Reagan and Clinton both did extraordinary rendition, but on a more limited basis, compared with what Bush did:

The guidelines for Clinton-era renditions required that subjects could be sent only to countries where they were not likely to be tortured -- countries that gave assurances to that effect and whose compliance was monitored by the State Department and the intelligence community. It's impossible to be certain that those standards were upheld every time, but serious efforts were made to see that they were. At a minimum, countries with indisputably lousy human rights records (say, Syria) were off-limits. Another key difference: Renditions before Bush were carried out to disrupt terrorist activity, not to gather intelligence or to interrogate individuals.
2.2.2009 9:38am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
holsinger:

Grow up, idjit.


When you have a moment to spare from the name-calling, I hope you'll recall this and explain why you disappeared when I caught you making things up.
2.2.2009 9:41am
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
Danger Mouse wrote:

When your candidate supports infanticide, there's going to be some self-imposed delusion.

Reminds me a bit of Bernie Madoff, huge Planned Parenthood donor. We shouldn't be too surprised when someone who gets his start in murder eventually moves on to more serious crimes like theft.
2.2.2009 10:01am
Jim Treacher (mail) (www):

Given how little time he has been if office, don't we need to see what exactly is meant by this before either gloating or denouncing?



He didn't wait to issue the order. Why should we wait to discuss it?
2.2.2009 10:16am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The lineup change on this is the point, as I keep saying.

Can't wait for some pronouncement from on high about corporate tax cheats and tax loopholes and paying your taxes honestly. Because I really can't figure out how that will line up. Libs have to be against corporate tax cheats, and corporations generally. But they can't be against corporations because they're tax cheats. Have to use something else. Tax cheating is an irrelevancy, now, a distraction....
Hmm. Working my way through this....
2.2.2009 10:29am
Joe The Plumber (mail):
Oh man this is rich.

Watching the leftists redefine "rendition" which we were assured is morally wrong and "doesn't represent American values" for the last 8 years.

Again, these people (loki13 and the rest) can't possibly be parodied.
2.2.2009 10:34am
Sarcastro (www):
Naked man stacking may be awesome for America, but I'm going to try and prod the left into knee-jerk opposition.

Making the Left live up to the crazy straw man in my head is much better than quietly letting the Administration do something I agree with!
2.2.2009 10:39am
Joe The Plumber (mail):
In short, don't we need more information?


Bwwaaaaahahahahahahaha!

Great one!

I bet you were saying that to these people, right?

It is hysterical to watch the left in action.
2.2.2009 10:39am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
jim:

He didn't wait to issue the order. Why should we wait to discuss it?


Those in a hurry to discuss the order might consider doing this first: read the order. Unless I missed it somewhere, no one in this thread has cited the order, or even quoted from it.

However, both Adler and Field have cited this post, which cites the order, and quotes from it. As Adler said in his update:

Hilzoy thinks there is less to the story than meets the eye. A real possibility is that the Obama Administration probably recognizes the utility of rendition, and wants it available for extreme circumstances, but also wants it done more responsibly.
2.2.2009 10:44am
RomeoW (mail):
"I consider myself a liberal and to me that means I believe in treating people well whenever possible."

Ah yes, the nuances of political affiliation.
2.2.2009 10:46am
Al Maviva:
he wants it available for extreme circumstances

I guess outsourcing torture is okay, if you happen to like the guy who authorizes it.
2.2.2009 10:50am
AntonK (mail):

* Mark Kleiman. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Andrew Sullivan. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Hillary Bok. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Glenn Greenwald. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Kevin Drum. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Duncan Black. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Markos Moulitsas. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Jerome Armstrong. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* Matt Stoller. Obama supporter? Then you are now officially pro-torture.

* All the damned rest of you on the Online Left. Every single one of you who supported Obama. You are now officially pro-torture.

Remember that when - not “if”; “when” - we get the first stories of somebody handed off to… probably Libya, at this rate; it’s precisely the sort of stupid choice you’d see from too-self-aware-of-their-own-smartness people - and wired up to a car battery. You voted for this. You made this happen. You were the change that you believed in. You were warned.

And I’ll sleep like a baby. That’s because I voted for the other guy.
Indeed
2.2.2009 11:07am
Sarcastro (www):

That’s because I voted for the other guy.

Glad to hear voting is all ya need to do to wash your hands of all culpability for what your contry does.
2.2.2009 11:24am
Jim Treacher (mail) (www):

Those in a hurry to discuss the order might consider doing this first: read the order.



I see no problem with that. I was just commenting on the idea that we shouldn't try to keep up with the flood of executive orders because it's not fair.
2.2.2009 11:43am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
AntonK.
What makes you think anybody is going to tell us about this?
Bush is no longer POTUS.
What would be the point?
2.2.2009 11:58am
Sarcastro (www):
Richard Aubrey is right again. We'd best not trust the media and assume Obama is torturing Republicans.
2.2.2009 12:01pm
Just an Observer:
I tend to agree with Hilzoy that the LA Times story about rendition was mostly misleading.

There are, however, several important questions about what the new administration's legal position will be on multiple "war on terror" issues.

See yesterday's NYT for a roundup. Those questions include the legal definition of the scope of that war, which I don't think was emphasized much in the NYT account.
2.2.2009 12:21pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Sarc. You can write a lot. Or you write when you have a point.
Updike did both.
He's dead.
2.2.2009 12:21pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
maviva:

I guess outsourcing torture is okay, if you happen to like the guy who authorizes it.


I guess ignoring facts is OK, if the facts get in the way of your partisan griping.

Hilzoy points out the plain language in the order which calls for ensuring that any acts of rendition "do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture."
2.2.2009 12:30pm
mooglar (mail) (www):
I am a liberal. I oppose extraordinary rendition. I opposed it under Bush. I oppose it under Obama. If the Obama administration continues the practice I will condemn it as strongly when done under a Democratic administration as a Republican one.

Liberals are a varied group. To say that all liberals are hypocritical and only believe in their principles when they are politically expedient is wrong. For example, Rachel Maddow was quick and strong in her condemnation of Obama's choice to have Rick Warren at the inauguration and did not let it go because Obama is "The One."

I think Obama was by far the better of the two (realistic) choices we had for President. And, by and large, I am happy with much of what he has done so far in his short time in office. But I am unhappy with some of the things he has done and can get quite worked up about them.

For instance, despite his inclusion of "nonbelievers" in his inauguration speech, Obama has continued the office of faith-based initiatives, which advocates and administers programs that clearly violate the First Amendment, in my view. I am highly critical of that decision. To be blunt, it p!ssed me off to no end. I thought that office was a terrible idea when Bush started it and I think it is a terrible idea now.

But I didn't have a realistic choice to vote for a Presidential candidate who wouldn't have policies that really p!ss me off. Both would have. But I agree with Obama on far more than I disagree with him on, while I disagreed with McCain far more than I agreed with him. So I supported Obama.

But that doesn't mean that I, and a large portion of the left, won't criticize him. We have, we are, and we will.
2.2.2009 12:31pm
wfjag:

For example, Rachel Maddow was quick and strong in her condemnation of Obama's choice to have Rick Warren at the inauguration and did not let it go because Obama is "The One."

I forget -- what did Rachel (or other members of "the left") say about Lowery's rant?


Dear Sarcastro:

Naked man stacking may be awesome for America,

Isn't that a scene from the musical "Hair"? Is is a "war crime" when done off-Broadway, or is it because those involved weren't in the theatre union?
2.2.2009 12:41pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I think O has screwed himself, and us, into the bargain. Well, come to think of it, that's not a particularly profound observation.
However, it could get bad.
We lost two buildings, the terrs lost two countries.
O has signaled he won't be that awful. We will have more troops in Afghanistan until he can think of a way to cede it back to the Taliban.
He's differed with, opposed, much of the heavy-handed work of the GWOT. If the Bad Guys think he's telling the truth, and he either might be or he's given their wishful thinking a double ration of rationalization material, they might well think another shot is worth it. The response won't be as bad.
So, IMO, he's increased the chances of a major strike in the USA.
Or, if the efforts to strike us are at the max already, he has another problem.
He's talking as if he's weakening our defenses. Even if he isn't, ref rendition and harsh interrogation, and even if we don't talk about implicit or inadvertent signals to other parties who wish us ill, that's the impression. So if we get hit through no fault of his, he's still the one who looks as if part of his campaign was to change the structure of our defenses.
If we're going to get hit, for his sake it should be in the context of being despite massive efforts, not in the context of going all weenie.
Yeah, I know. Ending rendition except when everybody, just everybody including the terrorists can see the justice of it, will make us safe.
2.2.2009 12:46pm
Sarcastro (www):
wfjag because of pornography, rape can't be a crime!

Richard Aubrey I have no doubt the terrorists are all broken up about losing 2 countries. They sure don't want us to go to war with any others!
2.2.2009 12:54pm
DangerMouse:
But that doesn't mean that I, and a large portion of the left, won't criticize him. We have, we are, and we will.

Do you really think people believe libs when they say things like that? Let me give you a hint: they don't.

Just be honest: he's your guy and you're going to go along with him. Even if he didn't have a cult of brainless worshipers, the left would still support him purely because to oppose him is to help the opposition.

No lib is going to parade through times square saying "Obama = Hitler" because he uses rendition, like they did for Bush. It's just not going to happen. So quit with the pretend opposition. It's insulting.
2.2.2009 12:55pm
nlcatter:
Bush rendition purpose was Torture

are you that friggin stupid !
2.2.2009 12:59pm
Sarcastro (www):
DangerMouse is right. Unless the left hates Obama as much as they hate Bush, they aren't opposing him at all!
2.2.2009 1:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wfjag:

is it because those involved weren't in the theatre union?


Acts performed by volunteers are not comparable to acts performed by captives, under coercion. Then again, your flippant remark suggests that you might be similarly confused about the difference between intercourse and rape. Which is more-or-less what sarcastro said.
2.2.2009 1:03pm
mooglar (mail) (www):
wfjag:

I'm not sure how your question addresses my point. Whether Rachel Maddow criticized Lowery or not has nothing to do with the question of whether there are those on the left willing to criticize the Obama administration. Maddow may or may not have been offended by Lowery and so may or may not have criticized him (I am not aware that she did, but I don't see her show all the time either). But to the point being made that the left and liberals don't and won't criticize the Obama administration, I bring Maddow up only as an example of a liberal in the media who has. Criticism of Lowery or lack thereof does not invalidate the example.

DangerMouse:

I don't know if "people" believe "libs" or not. I'm not sure what "people" you are referring to. It is clear that you don't believe it, even though I offered an instance as evidence.

I will be honest. Obama is my guy, and on most things I am going to "go along with him," because I agree with him. On the things I don't, I won't "go along with him."

And, perhaps, some on the left will choose not to criticize Obama "because to oppose him is to help the opposition." I, however, feel that doing the wrong thing helps the opposition more, so if I think the Obama administration is doing the wrong thing, I won't hesitate to say so. There are others who make the same calculation, whether you wish to believe it or not.

I don't know if anyone is going to march in Times Square with a sign that says "Obama = Hitler." (Godwin, BTW). You're correct that I won't, but then, I didn't march in Times Square with a "Bush = Hitler" sign either. But, until the Obama administration actually does the same things that the protestors were protesting with "Bush = Hitler" signs, neither you or I know the answer to that question, despite your claim to.
2.2.2009 1:27pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
sarc.
I think the folks in question, the ones who should be reading O, are the ones in charge of various states where the terrorists hang out.
O's actions and words have either encouraged them or discouraged them about the likely result of allowing their guests to continue their efforts.
2.2.2009 1:34pm
Al Maviva:
Jukebox grad, I guess you're okay with the Administration accepting dipomatic assurances from places like Syria that promise they wont torture repatriated individuals? Human Rights Watch - y'know, the steadfast opponents of outsourcing torture except when they aren't - was calling diplomatic assurances bogus fig leaf for torture not so long ago. Now we're going to take Syria and Egypt at their word? I guess I just don't see how New &Improved Rendition is totally different from Rendition Classic other than you guys on the left seem to be buying this public relations campaign better than you bought the one about how the guys were terrorists.
2.2.2009 1:37pm
wfjag:
No, no, no Sarcastro. That's not porno. That's advertising. See Clothing Ad Shows Men Dressed as Cops Molesting Women; Mayor Outraged Sunday, February 01, 2009 (Associated Press), www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,486398,00.html

Sorry, mooglar, you need to clarify your argument and examples of "the left's" willingness to criticize "The One." Rachel Maddow didn't like Rick Warren speaking at the inauguration becaise Warren (like "The One") is against SSM. Funny, I don't recall Rachel being to critical of "The One" being against SSM. Guess I missed that.

"The One" is also against racism. Isn't "the left" also against racism? Ergo, if "the left" is being true to principles -- rather than merely engaging in partisan rhetoric -- it should strongly and with at least the same vigor as it spoke out against Warren speak out against Lowery's racist rant, and also criticize "The One" for not immediately condemning Lowery's racist rant.

I hear crickets, but not much else. (But, that's OK. I always liked the sound of crickets).
2.2.2009 1:41pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
jukeboxgrad noted:
"Rendition seems to have started with Reagan. Reagan and Clinton both did extraordinary rendition, but on a more limited basis, compared with what Bush did ..."

I wonder what could possibly have caused things to change during the Bush 43 administration.

Those who do not understand the diffrence between war and peace don't want to.

And their opinions are not worth reading.
2.2.2009 1:48pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Al Mavviva,

Rendition during Republican administrations is mean, evil, nasty, rotten and fattening rendition.

Rendition during Democratic administrations is reasonable, nuanced, kinder, gentler and compassionate rendition.

The difference is motivation. During Republican administrations the objective is to get information of use to the American people from the rendered. During Democratic administrations the objective of rendition is to uplift and morally improve the rendered.

That the objective is immaterial to the fate of the rendered is itself immaterial. What counts, for lefties and Democrats, is the motivation.

Because Democrats are pure of heart, rendition during Democratic administrations is done with a pure heart.

That's the difference.

"Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue" - Ambrose Bierce.
2.2.2009 2:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I thought it was Oscar Wilde, who would know.
2.2.2009 2:11pm
Sarcastro (www):
Conservative: Dems are so funny when they are hypocrites.
Dem: I don't plan to do that
Conservative: But you will.
Dem: No, I won't.
Conservative: but you totally will! I know you will!
Dem: I think I know what I'm going to do.
Conservative: No, you guys are hypocrites, so later you will also be hypocrites.
Dem: Except I do not plan to do that.
Conservative: Well, that's just what a hypocrite would say.
Dem: why don't we wait and se.
Conservative: No need. I know you're a hypocrite right now.
Dem: how do you know unless you wait?
Conservative: 'I'm a Dem and I'm a hypocrite!' See? Proof!
Dem: ...
Conservative: VICTORY!
2.2.2009 2:14pm
DangerMouse:
I'm not sure what "people" you are referring to.

By "people" I mean everyone on the planet. By "planet" I mean Earth.

Not even libs believe it. They know they're lying, to others and to themselves.
2.2.2009 2:15pm
DangerMouse:
Sarcastro is absolutely right. Obama isn't lying, lib groups haven't flip-flopped, and Sarcastro is funny.

You need a new schtick. Conservative=dumb jokes just mean Sarcastro=unoriginal.
2.2.2009 2:27pm
mooglar (mail) (www):
wfjag:

I didn't use Maddow as an example of a liberal who is totally consistent in her criticism of the Obama administration, as you appear to think I did. I used her as an example of a liberal criticizing Obama. Whether she also criticized Lowery or also criticized Obama earlier, she nonetheless did criticize him in the instance I mentioned.

I thus refuted the claim that liberals will not criticize Obama. Questioning the consistency of Maddow's criticism does not change the fact that she, a liberal, did criticize him.
2.2.2009 2:47pm
mooglar (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:


By "people" I mean everyone on the planet. By "planet" I mean Earth.


Ah. So you are not arguing in good faith, unless you truly believe such a ludicrous claim. And if you actually do believe it, then you are detached from reality. Either way, making such obviously false claims adds little to the discussion.

Assuming your goal is to add to the discussion.
2.2.2009 2:57pm
Elliot123 (mail):
If someone is renditioned this year, is that torture? Violation of basic human rights? Trashing the Constitution? Degrading the US in the eyes of the world community? Violation of international law? Grounds for prosecution?

If someone is renditioned this year, where's the change?
2.2.2009 3:04pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
maviva:

I guess you're okay with the Administration accepting dipomatic assurances from places like Syria that promise they wont torture repatriated individuals?


I'm not. But I guess you're OK with suggesting I'm OK with things that I haven't said I'm OK with.

Wake me up when Obama renders someone to Syria (or anywhere) based on nothing more than a "promise they wont torture repatriated individuals."

I guess I just don't see how New &Improved Rendition is totally different from Rendition Classic


I'll be more inclined to see things your way when you show me the order Bush signed which said that we need to ensure that any acts of rendition "do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture." Did he sign an order that said that? I haven't seen it. If you have, please show it to us. Because I've shown you the order Obama signed, making that statement.

So I guess you're exactly right that "New &Improved Rendition" is exactly like "Rendition Classic," except that one allows torture, and one doesn't.

you guys on the left seem to be buying this public relations campaign


The text I cited didn't come from a "public relations campaign." It came from an executive order. If you're aware of some reason to think that executive orders have no meaning, I hope you'll tell us what it is.

========================
holsinger:

I wonder what could possibly have caused things to change during the Bush 43 administration.


Were we attacked during "the Bush 43 administration?" Really? What a shock. Because lots of people have been talking about what a great job he did keeping us safe. I guess he did a great job keeping us safe, except when he didn't.

By the way, maybe you forgot that the WTC was attacked in 1993.

But since you're suggesting Bush had an excuse, what was Reagan's excuse?

their opinions are not worth reading


Here's who is not "worth reading:" someone who invents their own facts and then ducks when challenged.
2.2.2009 3:15pm
nicehonesty:
jukeboxspam:

You're throwing a tantrum because in a past thread someone apparently didn't distinguish between "execution" and "summary execution" to your satisfaction.

Yet here in this thread, you intentionally conflate the "rendition" (kidnapping a terrorist to bring them to the U.S. to face justice) that Reagan did once with the "extraordinary rendition" policy intiated under Clinton (and continued under Bush and Obama) used to kidnap terrorists from one country and send them to another for holding/questioning.

And this isn't the first time you've tried to blur the distinction. You've tried to pawn off this meme over a dozen times, just here on the VC. The only evidence you offer to support your Big Lie is a link the same Slate article, which like most of the links you provide actually disproves the statement you claim it supports:

No foreign government was involved in the September 1987 snatching of Fawaz Yunis, who was wanted in the U.S. courts for his role in the hijacking of a Jordanian airliner that had American citizens onboard. Yunis was lured onto a boat off the coast of Cyprus and taken to the high seas, where he was arrested in international waters.


Your Goebbelian efforts to blame Reagan for the Clintonian invention of extraordinary rendition is pathetic. Like most commenters here I don't think it's worth my time to correct most of your flood of inaccurate statements and misrepresented links (and usuallly just skip over your tedious, meandering diatribes altogether), but on this point enough is enough.
2.2.2009 3:48pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nice:

someone apparently didn't distinguish between "execution" and "summary execution" to your satisfaction


Failing to distinguish between "execution" and "summary execution" is the exact equivalent of failing to distinguish between judicial killing and extrajudicial killing. And if you're claiming that the difference between those two is meaningless, that's good to know. It tells us that you and holsinger have the same problem.

you intentionally conflate … "rendition" … with … "extraordinary rendition"


You are correct that I should distinguish between "rendition" and "extraordinary rendition." Even though the distinction is not as important as you suggest: they are both a form of kidnapping.

The text I used ("Reagan and Clinton both did extraordinary rendition") is incorrect, and should say instead 'Reagan and Clinton both did rendition.'

You've tried to pawn off this meme over a dozen times, just here on the VC


Your search terms are sloppy. Outside of this thread, I've posted the incorrect text on just three occasions (here, here and here). If I missed one, show me where it is.

And I'm pretty sure this is the first time anyone has pointed out the error. If the error had been pointed out before, I would have acknowledged it before.

your flood of inaccurate statements and misrepresented links


Since there's a "flood," you must have a long list of errors I've failed to correct. When are you going to show it to us?
2.2.2009 4:43pm
Al Maviva:
Sec. Rice was pretty clear that individuals renditioned always were the subject of diplomatic assurances they would not be tortured, because the US needed to comply with treaty obligations and traditonal and customary international law. (I suppose that's true even if the assurances were the fig leaf alleged by Human Rights Watch). But then I've only seen that in Sec State communications, and not in authoritative stone tablets handed down from the Resolute Desk.

Sorry if I'm skeptical of Teh 0ne, but I don't see how the diplomatic assurances the new guy gets are going to be of better quality than the ones the Bush Admin used to get. Unless Syria and Egypt and Saudi had a change of heart on January 20 and their hearts grew three sizes that day, of course...
2.2.2009 4:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Al.

But they did. January 20 was the Dawn of New Day.
2.2.2009 4:57pm
wfjag:

I thus refuted the claim that liberals will not criticize Obama. Questioning the consistency of Maddow's criticism does not change the fact that she, a liberal, did criticize him.

Sorry, mooglar, but on the strength of argument scale, that rates about Marshmellow. Maddow criticizes Pres. Obama because he allowed Warren to give a benediction. The criticism is based on the fact that Warren opposes SSM. Maddow, however, doesn't criticize Pres. Obama on the grounds the he opposes SSM. Maddow doesn't say anything (as far as I am aware) about Lowery's racist rant, or criticize Pres. Obama for not taking Lowery to task for his racist rant, or for failing to take any action against whoever on his staff vetted Lowery's racist rant and approved it (and, don't kid yourself, the entire inauguration was scripted). Maddow's criticism is weak, and citing that as the proof of your argument is even weaker.

Guess what, there were Republicans who criticized Pres. Bush -- on important issues. IF the best that you can do is say that "liberals" will criticize Pres. Obama on stylistic and symbolic matters, you meet the diagnostic criteria for Obama Vegetative State.

The issue isn't whether in a nation of 300 Million you can find someone who identifies him/herself as a "liberal" who will "criticize" Pres. Obama on something minor like the identity of a person who gives a fairly vanilla benediction. The issue is the hyprocracy of "the left." IF "the left" in fact believes that rendition is illegal, then it continues to be illegal -- and you start calling for Obama to be indicted for "war crimes" (if not in the US, then in Europe, and arrested there when he goes there) just as "the left" called for Pres. Bush and members of his administration to be indicted and arrested. However, when "the left" (assuming that Human Rights Watch is part of what you call "the left") starts equivicating on the issue, expect the hypocracy to be duly noted. In other words, it appears that there was nothing per se illegal about rendition, and the attacks on Pres. Bush were mere partisan posturing.

If you can't really defend your position, at least be like Sarcastro and be witty about it:

Oh, I've known for a while about Obama's plan to Render the population into a green food-substance. I think I saw a documentary about it once.

But it won't be the terrorists. HOPELENT GREEN will be REPUBLICANS.

You have to admit that the image of Charleston Heston (aka "Moses" when he appeared in a movie in a bathrobe) being a Michael Moore clone is a real mind-bender.
2.2.2009 6:10pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
The Syrians do not routinely torture prisoners during interrogation, though the SOP for treatment of political prisoners is generally to almost always brutal. Treatment is not the same as interrogation.

AFAIK the Syrian government's attitude towards interrogation is pragmatic and results-oriented, and particularly so for political prisoners. They just distinguish between torture as an interrogation tool, and torture to achieve other objectives. They absolutely do exploit prisoners' fear of torture as an interrogation tool, particularly fear that they will torture the interrogee's family.

But when Syrian government interrogators want truthful, accurate, information, torture is just one of their many tools, and used only when they think it will get them what they want faster than other techniques. They are clever as well as ruthless.

Once Syrian interrogators have the information they want from a given prisoner, he/she might be tortured to discourage further undesirable behavior, as an object lesson to others, or for any of many other purposes including to indulge the captors' sadism. AFAIK, this is common but not routine. Syrian captivity is definitely to be feared.

The Saudis, by contrast, tend to be much better behaved as gaolers, though they are hardly nice. The Syrians are horrid.
2.2.2009 7:39pm
CJS (mail):
The LAT article specifically mentioned the "not to countries that torture" exemption.

To quote the LAT:

"In his executive order on lawful interrogations, Obama created a task force to reexamine renditions to make sure that they 'do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture,' or otherwise circumvent human rights laws and treaties."

In Hilzoy's post he goes into the specifics, but the key seems to be that under the Convention Against Torture, which is incorporated by the executive order, the "relevant authorities" get to determine whether there is "substantial danger" that the person rendered to the foreign country would suffer torture there.

The LAT story also mentioned that short-term detention in black sites is still allowed, without saying who defines "short-term."

To quote the LAT again:

"One provision in one of Obama's orders appears to preserve the CIA's ability to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects as long as they are not held long-term. The little-noticed provision states that the instructions to close the CIA's secret prison sites 'do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.'

Despite concern about rendition, Obama's prohibition of many other counter-terrorism tools could prompt intelligence officers to resort more frequently to the 'transitory' technique."

Bottom line: There doesn't seem to be a guarantee against extraordinary rendition, or on scooping up suspects and holding them for some indeterminate time period outside of any ordinary legal process.

And, I believe, all the executive orders are temporary, while the administration looks into the issues, right? Hard to see why they need loopholes in those temporary executive orders (which, it goes without saying, could also be immediately changed by another executive order).
2.2.2009 8:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
maviva:

But then I've only seen that in Sec State communications, and not in authoritative stone tablets handed down from the Resolute Desk.


I guess that's your way of admitting that Bush never issued an executive order stipulating explicitly that torture was out of bounds with regard to extraordinary rendition. However, Obama did. But feel free to keep pretending that Obama's approach to the matter is indistinguishable from Bush's.

And it would be nice to see a citation to those "Sec State communications" you're talking about.

And Condi giving us assurances about 'diplomatic assurances' is singularly unassuring, given that the Bush administration has a long track record of making statements that turned out to be false. And given that Bush has his own special definition of 'torture.'

I don't see how the diplomatic assurances the new guy gets are going to be of better quality than the ones the Bush Admin used to get


I guess that depends on the nature of the assurances. And other factors, like what country is issuing them.

Unless Syria and Egypt and Saudi had a change of heart


Like I said, wake me up when you find out that Obama sent someone to one of those places.

==================
wfjag:

Guess what, there were Republicans who criticized Pres. Bush -- on important issues. IF the best that you can do is say that "liberals" will criticize Pres. Obama on stylistic and symbolic matters, you meet the diagnostic criteria for Obama Vegetative State.


Examples of liberals criticizing Obama on an important issue are here and here.

How many examples can you show of "Republicans who criticized Pres. Bush -- on important issues" before he was even elected?

==================
holsinger, I see you still can't bring yourself to clean up this little mess you made.
2.2.2009 8:19pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

There is one instance where the ratbag was sent to Egypt. He was returned to the USA for trial. At the trial evidence was proffered that the Egyptians roasted, yes, roasted, the guy. The judge let in the evidence.

In other words, good work.

"In his executive order on lawful interrogations, Obama created a task force to reexamine renditions to make sure that they 'do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture,' or otherwise circumvent human rights laws and treaties."

I guess rendition to Chicago is out of the question.
2.2.2009 8:39pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Michael.
The Detroit and LA police departments are still under federal consent decrees. Detroit, anyway, isn't making much progress.
So you can't send them there.
2.2.2009 9:57pm
davod (mail):
"In his executive order on lawful interrogations, Obama created a task force to reexamine renditions to make sure that they 'do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture,' or otherwise circumvent human rights laws and treaties."

What reason do you have to send the ratbags anywhere but to a US controlled facility?
2.2.2009 10:07pm
Al Maviva:
I guess that's your way of admitting that Bush never issued an executive order stipulating explicitly that torture was out of bounds with regard to extraordinary rendition.

Oh, well I guess the existence of an executive order makes a huge difference, because, y'know, executive orders have the force of law and all. Right? Oh wait a minute...

And it would be nice to see a citation to those "Sec State communications" you're talking about.

You're the human rights expert Jukebox Grad. Go read the official US response to the criticism of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, or look at the brief response of the US Mission in Geneva as pertains to refoulement and US compliance with the CAT.
2.2.2009 10:35pm
MarkField (mail):

In Hilzoy's post he goes into the specifics


Hilzoy is female.
2.2.2009 11:05pm
LM (mail):
DELETED BY EDITOR
2.3.2009 2:19am
LM (mail):
DangerMouse totally has his finger on the pulse of the American people. More DangerMouse and we'd still have a steady Republican hand on the helm of our ship of State.
2.3.2009 2:39am
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
The Hilzoy, Greenwald, Horton defense of rendition distorts history. They claim the objections were always just about torture and secret prisons. WRONG: Still a Flip-Flop: My Fellow Liberals Push Back Against Allegations of Inconsistency Concerning Rendition
2.3.2009 3:12am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
davod:

What reason do you have to send the ratbags anywhere but to a US controlled facility?


There are a number of situations where it makes sense to send the "ratbag" to another nation, and not to "a US controlled facility." For example, he may have committed a serious crime in that other nation, and that other nation might be ready, willing and able to prosecute him for that crime. In other words, they might have jurisdiction that we don't have.

================
maviva:

I guess the existence of an executive order makes a huge difference, because, y'know, executive orders have the force of law and all. Right? Oh wait a minute...


It looks like you need to go back to basics and read the Constitution. Here is what has "the force of law:" the law. And who makes the law? Congress. An executive order is not about creating "the force of law." It's about carrying out the law.

You seem unaccustomed to the idea of a president who simply carries out the law, instead of making it himself. What a quaint notion!

You also seem to be faulting Obama for not creating law to prevent torture. Huh? First of all, it's not his job to create law. That used to be his job, but he has a new job now. Second, we already have a bunch of laws to prevent torture. We don't particularly need any new ones. We just need an executive that's interested in carrying out the law, instead of breaking it. And that's what we now seem to have.

And yes, an executive order "makes a huge difference," even though it doesn't have "the force of law." Unless you think the executive power vested in the president is meaningless. Because this is how executive power is carried out: by issuing orders and directives.

This is extremely basic stuff. I wonder why you find it hard to grasp.

Go read the official US response to the criticism of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, or look at the brief response of the US Mission in Geneva as pertains to refoulement and US compliance with the CAT.


Why are those documents relevant? They obviously don't have "the force of law." They don't even have the force of an executive order. I have a strong hunch they are just part of a "public relations campaign" that you seem to have bought.

I also don't know where to find them, and I guess you're not really interested in telling us where they are.

================
dissenting:

The Hilzoy, Greenwald, Horton defense of rendition distorts history.


Why are you making hilzoy et al responsible for statements made by other parties (e.g. David Weissbrodt and the European Parliament)? If you're claiming that, say, Greenwald is contradicting himself, why don't you compare his current statements to his past statements? Instead, you're comparing his current statements to someone else's past statements. What makes that a fair comparison?

Can you show us an example of, say, Greenwald asserting that rendition is categorically unacceptable, even in situations where there is good reason to believe that torture will not occur? That would be a relevant comparison. In the absence of such a comparison, it seems that the one who "distorts history" is you.
2.3.2009 10:15am
Elliot123 (mail):
I think we can see the glimmerings of the change we can believe in. The Bush administration was reckless and irresponsible, while the Obama administration is responsible and nuanced.

So, we can trust Obama will only use nuanced torture, nuanced CIA departure from the Army Field Manual, nuanced rendition, nuanced bombing of civilians, nuanced tax cheats as cabinet secretaries, nuanced lobbyists as DOD officials, and nuanced incarceration of innocents at Guantanamo.

If you don't see the nuance here, you just don't get it.
2.3.2009 10:50am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Of the things I like most about this, the most precious, is that those who are flipflopping, trying as hard as they can to pretend, know nobody's buying it. Nobody.
But they have to keep it up.
Sisyphus ain't in it.
What a hoot.
2.3.2009 10:53am
Al Maviva:
JBG, above you cited the existence of an executive order as proof that Obama's policies on rendition are very different than Bush's. When I sarcastically pointed out that executive orders have no force of law - which means they are pretty much the same as Bush's orders delivered in other than executive order form, you go and mock me as not having read the Constitution. Are you intentionally misreading me?

Above, you asked for a citation that the official position taken by Sec State Rice is that we follow the CAT and receive diplomatic assurances prior to rendition, thus avoiding refoulement, you ridicule me rather than using google. Go look up the US Mission to Geneva and see what the US State Department said to the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights, Martin Scheinin on the topic. Here. It took me five seconds to google the brief communication, which contains a linked to a detailed statement, but not to the entire US response to the Special Rapporteur, a document of a few hundred pages compiled over several years (and delivered several years past its due date, thanks to a former administration's non-response to the original report). Since you're not exactly arguing in good faith I'll leave it to you to go dig out the full response, but I think the response linked is pretty clear. And to answer your question about relevance, it states the U.S. position on CAT treaty compliance. CAT compliance forbids refoulement; therefore rendition may not be accomplished without receiving diplomatic assurances or other proofs that the individual will be tortured. That I have to tell you this is surprising; it makes me think you don't understand that the debate isn't about rendition any more it's about whether the diplomatic assurances are worth a damn (the last administration's position was "yes but we reserve the right to evaluate their veracity for the executive branch), and any role for due process.

If Obama is keeping rendition in his toolkit, which he appears to be doing, then his position has not changed at all from the Bush Administration's position in any meaningful sense (except for your assertion that he'll only use it with good intent, an assertion I take as seriously as comparable assertions about the Bush Administration's good intent) unless he has decided that the contentious issue, the Executive's evaluation of diplomatic assurances of non-torture, is a matter for the courts to evaluate. That's where the fight is. I'm really impressed, not in a good way, that you aren't aware of this.
2.3.2009 10:57am
mattski:
Richard Aubrey: That would be nice, if it were infallible. Is it infallible? Or could you be dead before you got done with the appeasement?

Of course it isn't infallible. I don't know of any strategy that is, and if that was your standard for action, good heavens, you'd never get anything done! There are at least two very good reasons for generous and kind behavior that I know of: it creates good feelings in other people and it creates good feelings in oneself.

Also, it's nice having such luminaries as Jesus, the Buddha, Ghandi and MLK on one's side, if I could use the word "side" in as unprovocative a manner as possible...

And jukeboxgrad, you are one studly human being!
2.3.2009 11:09am
Elliot123 (mail):
Obama's executive orders are subject to change we can believe in.

He issued an EO saying lobbyists hired by his administration couldn't deal in areas which had been the target of their prior lobbying.

Then he hired a lobbyist for Raytheon as Number Two at the Pentagon. Yes we can because it's nuanced.
2.3.2009 11:13am
mooglar (mail) (www):
wfjag:

Ah, I see. You are moving the goalposts. I was responding to commenters above who claimed that "libs" and the left will never criticize Obama, no matter what he does. I showed that this is not true. Yet you refuse to grant that I was right on this point and instead label the argument as "Marshmallow." It isn't. Commenters above claimed not-X and I gave an example of X. That is a strong rebuttal to the particular claim I was refuting. Maybe you don't think it was a good rebuttal to other claims I wasn't refuting, but then, that wasn't what I was talking about. If someone makes an untrue claim in a public forum, it is the right of other commenters to refute that claim, whether you think it is worthwhile to do so or not.


The issue isn't whether in a nation of 300 Million you can find someone who identifies him/herself as a "liberal" who will "criticize" Pres. Obama on something minor like the identity of a person who gives a fairly vanilla benediction.


Yes, actually, that is the issue I was addressing, as I have pointed out repeatedly. The issue you are now bringing up is a whole other issue. You may not think that refuting the claim that liberals and the left will never criticize Obama is important, but the claim was made and I feel it is worthwile to refute it. You're just trying, by assertion, to make this some other discussion that isn't the discussion I was participating in. But you claiming "the issue isn't" what the issue is doesn't make it so.

I might have been willing to engage with you on these broader issues you want to discuss if you appeared to be arguing in good faith. But since you refuse to engage the actual point I was making, and because you keep trying to invalidate my statements by saying they aren't pertinent to some other point I wasn't making, and because won't acknowledge that I did actually refute the claim I was refuting, I'm not sure engaging with you on other issues would be fruitful. I have no reason to believe you will not continue to evade the topic and try to move the goalposts as you have done to this point.
2.3.2009 11:14am
mattski:
Of the things I like most about this, the most precious, is that those who are flipflopping, trying as hard as they can to pretend, know nobody's buying it.

Richard, why not browse about a bit instead of sitting so comfortably among your prejudices? It's good for the mind.
2.3.2009 11:17am
mooglar (mail) (www):
wfjag:

Oh, and by the way...


If you can't really defend your position, at least be like Sarcastro and be witty about it:


You don't get to tell me what my position is and try to make me defend a position I didn't take. That may work sometimes against some people, but if you want to actually discuss issues in good faith it is a tactic I suggest you drop, as anyone intelligent enough to be worth talking to won't fall for it and will be turned off by the attempt.
2.3.2009 11:22am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So, mattski.
If my concern is about surviving, with warm fuzzies on the second page of my to-do list, can I use violence if it's called for? On account of being nice might not help me survive?
Come to think of it, I can put my finger--metaphorically speaking--on half a dozen people whose lives did not take a downturn because I offered or actually applied violence to a number of perps. No, counting staredowns, more like a dozen.


I don't have to google anything to help me with my world view. I watch people. They are, as I say, a hoot on this issue.

Jesus and MLK are dead. Didn't die of old age.
You really ought to look up Gandhi. You know. The guy who said the Jews ought to go to their deaths willingly so as to embarrass the Germans.
So, if I want to survive, or if I want my friends and family to survive instead of being an object lesson to somebody, Gandhi doesn't seem like the guy.
2.3.2009 11:38am
wfjag:
Dear mooglar, I didn't move the goalposts. My point remained the same throughout. You're the one who decided to argue that "liberals" (or "the left" -- you use both terms, although they are not interchangable terms) will "criticize" Pres. Obama. I responded that your proof was weak on substance. It's not much of a criticism to object to Pres. Obama picking a man to give a benediction who agrees with Pres. Obama in opposing SSM. Warren and Pres. Obama agree on that issue -- so, exactly how is objecting to Warren giving a benediction much of a criticism of Pres. Obama?

I noted that there are serious social issues on which valid criticisms of Pres. Obama's failure to show moral leadership can be made -- using the example of allowing Lowery's racist rant an apparent pass (i.e., Pres. Obama not condemning the rant and not taking any action against whoever on his staff vetted and approved it).

So, if you have some examples of "liberals" criticising Pres. Obama on something important, let's see them. There's bound to be some. It looks like a qualification for appointment to high office in this administration is either being a lobbyist or having "tax issues." Surely there's someone on "the left" who's said something about this?

And, since there have been some Predator strikes in Pakistan since Pres. Obama was sworn in, it's clear that this administration is following the Bush 43 policy in doing that. Any criticisms from "the left", or is killing some "civilians" who are in the company of Taliban in Pakistan when a Hellfire missile hits OK now, when it was objectionable before?

If nothing else, check Dissenting Justice's website. He appears to meet the definition of being a member of "the left", but, unlike Human Rights Watch, doesn't seem to have changed his principles based on who is President. So, yes, I'm sure you can find someone on the left who will criticize Pres. Obama. However, there are apparently many, many more who are making themselves into pretzels as apologists.

Oh, and while you're at it, consider the logical inconsistency in your post. First you allege that I was moving the goalposts. Then you quote me and concede

Yes, actually, that is the issue I was addressing,

Addressing your argument -- and showing how weak your support for it is -- is not moving goalposts.
2.3.2009 11:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

The Bush administration was reckless and irresponsible, while the Obama administration is responsible and nuanced.


That's how it looks so far. If and when that changes, and Obama becomes as "reckless and irresponsible" as Bush, I will cut Obama exactly the same amount of slack I cut Bush: none.

we can trust Obama will only use nuanced torture …


In my opinion, we can trust Obama to not torture, period. When you find out that Obama has used torture, "nuanced" or otherwise, I trust you won't keep the news under your hat.

nuanced CIA departure from the Army Field Manual


In my opinion, I don't think there should be any "CIA departure from the Army Field Manual." So I disagree with Obama, and I criticize him on this point (and I could make similar comments about some of the other items you mentioned).

Is your head exploding yet? Because your worldview seems to rely on the notions that Obama supporters never criticize Obama.

What about you? Do you think we should allow "CIA departure from the Army Field Manual?"

he hired a lobbyist for Raytheon


And he was wrong to do so.

Someday we might have a perfect president. Even though that day has not arrived, I'm still pleased to have one who is substantially less imperfect than the last one.

Is that too "nuanced" for you? If so, that's your problem. And one of many indications that you're a waste of time.

If you don't see the nuance here, you just don't get it.


What I "get" is that you're incapable of presenting an argument that isn't based on disingenuous straw-man assertions.

==================
aubrey:

What a hoot.


If you can spare a moment from your hooting, it would nice to hear answers to some of the many questions you've been dodging. Like here, here and here.

==================
maviva:

they are pretty much the same as Bush's orders delivered in other than executive order form


They are "pretty much the same" except that they're not. Unless you can show that Bush issued orders to prevent torture. Did he? How come you still haven't demonstrated that?

rendition may not be accomplished without receiving diplomatic assurances or other proofs that the individual will be tortured


Thanks for that wonderful Freudian slip. And the document you cite (pdf) does not say that Bush required assurances "that the individual will [not] be tortured." Rather, it says this:

the United States government does not transfer persons to countries where it determines that it is more likely than not that they will be tortured


The document says nothing about "diplomatic assurances." It just says, vaguely, that the US "determines" the risk of torture. And if the risk is 'only' 49%, then rendition is fine.

Do you have evidence that Obama intends to apply that same standard ("more likely than not")? Because what I see in his EO looks like a different standard, that we need to ensure that any acts of rendition "do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture." That's different from what Bush said: that it's OK if the result is torture, as long as it 'only' happens in no more than 49% of the cases.

Does the cited document say anything else of substance? Not that I can find. It says this:

torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are absolutely prohibited under U.S. law.


Big deal. We already know that. We also know that Bush did those things, even though they "are absolutely prohibited under U.S. law." So please let us know why we should treat this document as something other than a "public relations campaign" that you seem to have bought.

the debate isn't about rendition any more it's about whether the diplomatic assurances are worth a damn


If you're claiming that the debate is about "diplomatic assurances," then it's odd to discover that you cited a document that says nothing about "diplomatic assurances." And here's what's not "worth a damn:" a PR document issued by Bush's State Dept.

except for your assertion that he'll only use it with good intent


Your reading comprehension needs a lot of work. I said nothing about "good intent." I pointed out that Obama's EO takes a position against torture. You responded by proving that Bush had no problem with rendition to torture, as long as the torture happened in 'only' 49% of the cases.

Feel free to continue to pretend that there's no difference.

==================
wfjag:

if you have some examples of "liberals" criticising Pres. Obama on something important, let's see them


I already cited examples, here. You are ignoring those examples, and you are ignoring the question I asked you.

is killing some "civilians" who are in the company of Taliban in Pakistan when a Hellfire missile hits OK now, when it was objectionable before?


Presumably you can show us an example of someone who objected to this practice when Bush did it, but is now defending Obama for doing the same thing. Are you going to show us such an example?

check Dissenting Justice's website. He appears to meet the definition of being a member of "the left"


Actually, he appears to meet the definition of a concern troll.

==================
mattski, thanks for the kind words. You're doing fine yourself.
2.3.2009 12:11pm
mooglar (mail) (www):
wfjag:

What? The end of your post is possibly one of the wrongest things I have ever read. This word "logic," it does not mean what you think it means.


Dear mooglar, I didn't move the goalposts. My point remained the same throughout. You're the one who decided to argue that "liberals" (or "the left" -- you use both terms, although they are not interchangable terms) will "criticize" Pres. Obama. I responded that your proof was weak on substance.


My point is proven. Moving the goalposts: "your proof was weak on substance." That criticism makes absolutely no sense in light of the claim I was refuting. It's a yes/no proposition, you see: The claim was that liberals will never criticize Obama no matter what he does. This claim is either true or false. If it is true, then there will be no -- as in none, ever -- examples of a liberal criticizing Obama. If an example can be found, then the claim is false.

There is no "substance" to my evidence. It is either an example of a liberal criticizing Obama or it is not. If these two facts are true, then the claim that liberals will not criticize Obama is falsified:

1) Rachel Maddow is generally accepted as a liberal.

2) She criticized Obama for having Rick Warren give the inaugrual invocation.

Do you deny that either point 1) or point 2) are true? If you deny they are true, then you are wrong, but then your problem isn't the "substance" of the evidence but rather the fact that the evidence is wrong.

If you do not deny 1) or 2), then there is no issue of "substance" because whether it is a "minor" criticism or not is irrelevant, since the claim I am refuting didn't have anything to do with the "substance" of the criticism. The claim was that such criticism, be it "minor" or not, did not exist. If 1) and 2) are true, then such criticism, "minor" or not, does exist, the "substance" of such criticism notwithstanding.

Your insistence that I provide a better example because the one I provided is "minor" is an attempt to ignore the fact that I have, in fact, refuted the claim I was refuting: that liberal criticism of Obama does exist. You want me to engage in a debate over the "substance" of that criticism when it is nothing to do with the claim I was refuting or my refutation.


Addressing your argument -- and showing how weak your support for it is -- is not moving goalposts.


Claiming my support is "weak" when it is sufficient to falsify the claim I was refuting is a form of moving the goalposts. It is as if someone said, "No child ever has a temper tantrum," and when I show you a child having a temper tantrum, you respond, "Well, that kid's messed up." But whether the kid is messed up or not has nothing to do with it. To falsify the claim I only had to present one example of a child having a tantrum. To falsify the claim that liberals won't criticize Obama, I only had provide one example.

I provided that example. Unless you can show that either 1) or 2) are untrue, then I have successfully falsified the claim. Talking about how "weak" my evidence is is just an attempt, on your part, to avoid admitting that the claim has been successfully falsified.
2.3.2009 12:31pm
LM (mail):
Jonathan Adler,

DELETED BY EDITOR

First, I apologize for putting something you found offensive on the thread. That said, I hope you mistakenly thought I was actually insulting or criticizing Hilzoy. On the contrary. It was just a little (apparently unsuccessful) satire. Anyway, again, sorry.
2.3.2009 12:56pm
nicehonesty:
jukeboxspam:

torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are absolutely prohibited under U.S. law.



Big deal. We already know that. We also know that Bush did those things, even though they "are absolutely prohibited under U.S. law."


We also know that Obama has already done these things, when he ordered the slaughter of innocent civilians in the peaceful, sovereign country of Pakistan.

It seems like a pretty big faith-based-initiative to ask everyone to trust that the guy who's already blown up women and children in a Muslim country that's nominally our ally would never allow anything bad to happen to the "terrorists" he kidnaps from one country and secretly ships off to another country to face the justice system he's arbitrarily selected for them.

Apparently principled opponents who don't take that leap of faith will be written off as concern trolls by the newly-converted Obama torture apologists.
2.3.2009 1:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
nice.
As I say, it's great to contemplate them working so earnestly, all the while they know it's all for naught because everybody, just everybody, is on to them.
2.3.2009 1:47pm
Just an Observer:
I think Dissenting Justice does paint with too broad a brush on this one, but I also think jukeboxgrad's name-calling ("concern troll") is way over the top.

The Dissenting Justice blog -- the creation of Prof. Darren Hutchinson at American University's Washington College of Law -- represents an interesting point of view.

Personally, I am less interested in what overgeneralized "liberals" or "conservatives" think -- or claim each other thinks -- than I am in the substantive questions about Obama's policies and the legal actions of his administration.
2.3.2009 1:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"What I "get" is that you're incapable of presenting an argument that isn't based on disingenuous straw-man assertions."

Sorry. I was presenting a nuanced argument based on change we can believe in. Like Obama's support of Daschle yesterday.
2.3.2009 1:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Just.
That's a good outlook. But the flipflopping is too much fun to pass up.
2.3.2009 2:59pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nice:

We also know that Obama has already done these things [violate laws prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment], when he ordered the slaughter of innocent civilians in the peaceful, sovereign country of Pakistan.


The laws that prohibit "torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" apply to captives. There are also rules designed to provide some protection to civilians caught in a war zone, but those rules are separate. So are you claiming that Obama "ordered the slaughter of innocent civilians" after they had been captured and were being held in our custody? Really? Please tell us about it. Because if they were not in our custody, then the laws regarding "torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" do not apply. And when we talk about Bush violating those laws, we are talking about his treatment of captives. Not "the slaughter of innocent civilians" when he ordered attacks in Pakistan, or elsewhere.

But I guess we shouldn't be surprised that you don't comprehend this distinction, because apparently you also don't comprehend the difference between judicial killing and extrajudicial killing.

the newly-converted Obama torture apologists


If you manage to find any actual "Obama torture apologists," I hope you'll point them out to us. Of course that would require you to first demonstrate that Obama has committed torture. And then you would have to find an example of someone claiming this is OK. Let us know when you accomplish those things.

Speaking of your to-do list, you need to apologize for claiming I made a particular mistake "over a dozen times." The correct number is four. And surely you believe in taking responsibility for your mistakes, right?

===========
elliot:

I was presenting a nuanced argument


No, you weren't presenting an argument, nuanced or otherwise. You were obfuscating and evading, as usual. Are you going to make even a pretense of answering the question I asked you? You love to ask questions, but you're allergic to answering them.

===========
jao:

I also think jukeboxgrad's name-calling ("concern troll") is way over the top.


Maybe I need to take another look, but skimming his blog I see a large number of statements that could have been made by any number of righty commenters here. Which is fine, except that he labels himself as a "progressive" and a "Democrat."

For example, I have a hard taking him seriously given his comments about Troopergate. Here:

As a lawyer, I struggled to understand how the investigation into "Troopergate" could conclude that Palin acted within her constitutional authority but that she violated an ethics statute. … Personally, I believe that Troopergate itself was just a bunch of moose crap.


And here:

On the one hand, she acted within her constitutional authority, but on the other hand, she abused her power by violated a statute preventing using office for personal gain. … I am still trying to reconcile the two things. I guess it depends upon what they mean by "within constitutional authority." Unclear.


Huh? What he's treating as a mystery ("unclear") is not unclear at all. Branchflower found that Palin "acted within her constitutional authority" in firing Monegan, but also "abused her power" by pressuring Monegan to fire Wooten. Those are two separate issues. This is explained in many places, like here and here. A tenured law professor calling this "unclear" is hard for me to swallow. Likewise for describing the matter as "just a bunch of moose crap" without making even a pretense of substantiating that claim.
2.3.2009 3:51pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
And this is classic:

I also found it odd that the media did not cover the story as closely as it reported other Palin moments. I suspected that perhaps they knew that something about the report was fishy, but they refused to criticize it for fear of vindicating Palin


In other words, the failure of the media to cover Troopergate is proof of bias against Palin. Because the media "knew" that Branchflower's report was "fishy," and they preferred to keep this quiet.

Meanwhile, he never lifts a finger to substantiate that claim ("fishy"). Instead, he admits he never even read the report:

I didn't find the idea of reading the 300-page report that stimulating, so I didn't do it.


Sorry, but that doesn't strike me as responsible commentary. Especially when it's coming from a tenured professor of law. Those remarks are at the level of what one finds when wading through LGF or freeperville.
2.3.2009 4:28pm
nicehonesty:
jukeboxspam:

But I guess we shouldn't be surprised that you don't comprehend this distinction, because apparently you also don't comprehend the difference between judicial killing and extrajudicial killing.


When Obama ordered those Muslim men, women, and children to be blown up in Pakistan, were those judicial kills or extrajudicial kills?

If you manage to find any actual "Obama torture apologists," I hope you'll point them out to us.


Here's one, proclaiming that a blogger who dared to retain a principled stand against the CIA rendition program that Obama chose to continue was a "concern troll."


you need to apologize for claiming I made a particular mistake "over a dozen times."


I didn't claim you "made a particular mistake." I pointed out that you were lying in an effort to launch a counterfactual meme that extraordinary rendition started under Reagan instead of Clinton. Strangely, I feel no need to apologize for exposing your serial dishonesty.
2.3.2009 4:38pm
Just an Observer:
jukeboxgrad:


Likewise for describing the matter as "just a bunch of moose crap" without making even a pretense of substantiating that claim.


The very next paragraph of the blog post you link to says:


Well, moments ago, the Alaska Personnel Board issued a statement saying there was no probable cause to believe that Palin violated any ethics law in the controversial firing.


I don't want to get too deep in the off-topic weeds over that issue.

But you seem to try too hard with an ad hominem attack on that blogger because no decent "progressive" or "Democrat" could hold such a nuanced or complex opinion. Paradoxically, you so argue in the context of claiming -- correctly, I believe -- that the Obama administration's policy on rendition is nuanced and complex, and a marked departure from Bush's because rendition-for-torture is different than rendition alone. (BTW, I voted against the governor, although I am not a Democrat. And I also opposed Bush's rendition and torture policies.)

One reason I found the Dissenting Justice blog to be interesting, although I don't agree with every post, is that the blogger does raise some uncomfortably complex questions. For example, here. I do think there was some degree of political complicity among establishment Democrats for the excesses of the Bush administration, which is one reason no reckoning seems to be forthcoming.

I might add that your partisan opponents in the distracting dialog here are mostly doing their best to avoid and distort complex realities as well, for the obvious purpose of trying to score sophomoric debating points -- if not to spread deliberate disinformation.

Meanwhile, I remain interested in some more substantive revelations of exactly where the new administration will take legal positions different from its predecessor, and where it will not. Some of the more difficult questions have yet to be answered, both as a matter of law and policy.
2.3.2009 5:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"No, you weren't presenting an argument, nuanced or otherwise. You were obfuscating and evading, as usual. Are you going to make even a pretense of answering the question I asked you? You love to ask questions, but you're allergic to answering them."

Let's not confuse nuance with obfuscation and evasion.

Obfuscation and evasion is saying Gitmo would be closed while leaving it open, saying torture would not be tolerated unless the AG says so, hiring lobbyists contrary to a presidential order, saying the CIA should comply with the Army Field Manual then exempting it, and claiming high ethics while nominating a bunch of serial tax cheats.

Meanwhile Iran launches a satellite, North Korea is planning a missile launch, India tells Obama to keep his nose out of Kashmir, and Putin manuevers Kyrgystan to eject the US from an air base, and the EU has to give Obama a history lesson on Smoot-Hawley. And Obama? He's at a libraray talking to second garders.

Nuance is providing ObamExcuses saying it's all OK.

And all in just two weeks...
2.3.2009 8:54pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

"Instead, he admits he never even read the report"

Oh, come now, jukeboxgrad, provide some context. Professor Hutchinson explained his position on Troopergate:

"On the media and Troopergate -- I certainly thought that there was not too much either. On the one hand, she acted within her constitutional authority, but on the other hand, she abused her power by violated a statute preventing using office for personal gain. I didn't find the idea of reading the 300-page report that stimulating, so I didn't do it. But I am still trying to reconcile the two things. I guess it depends upon what they mean by "within constitutional authority." Unclear."

He obviously was following the issue to some degree. Not reading the ~300 page report was a choice and regardless he seemed to have a good read on the matter ("she acted within her constitutional authority, but on the other hand, she abused her power by violated a statute preventing using office for personal gain"), depending on your viewpoint.

and:

"Sorry, but that doesn't strike me as responsible commentary. Especially when it's coming from a tenured professor of law. Those remarks are at the level of what one finds when wading through LGF or freeperville."

Sorry, but that comes off as a cheap shot. Professor Hutchinson is upfront on what he believes happened and why he did not wish to read the report. The ADN provided several good summaries of the report if memory serves, perhaps he read those. And what difference is it that the comments come from a "tenured professor of law"? He's entitled to a life outside of his teaching and that includes blogging on a variety of issues.

From what I have read, Professor Hutchinson has a polite and courteous tone. You might consider that and take the edge off some of your remarks. And in fairness to you, you take a lot of crap and indeed insults that are over the top on VC.
2.3.2009 9:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nice:

When Obama ordered those Muslim men, women, and children to be blown up in Pakistan, were those judicial kills or extrajudicial kills?


Obama thought he was going after a legitimate military target, which means they were not the latter. Which is the same standard I apply to Bush, when Bush did the same thing. Let me know if you can find any examples of me criticizing Bush for doing what Obama did. You won't.

What's your answer to the question you just asked me?

a blogger who dared to retain a principled stand against the CIA rendition program


You have a vivid imagination. Please show us where Hutchinson has stated that he is now or ever has been "against the CIA rendition program."

And please explain how my criticism of him is illegitimate, or how that criticism puts me in the category of "Obama torture apologists." That category consists of people who have claimed that it's OK for Obama to torture. Please indicate where I or anyone else has said that.

I pointed out that you were lying in an effort to launch a counterfactual meme that extraordinary rendition started under Reagan instead of Clinton.


I pointed out that your claim that I did something "over a dozen times" is itself a "counterfactual meme." When you decided to "launch" that "counterfactual meme," were you "lying," or just making a mistake? And if the latter, why are you refusing to take responsibility for that mistake?

===========
jao:

The very next paragraph of the blog post you link to says:

"…the Alaska Personnel Board issued a statement saying there was no probable cause to believe that Palin violated any ethics law…"


I'm very well-aware of that. And the irony is that it's the Personnel Board report, not Branchflower's, that is "fishy" and "a bunch of moose crap" (to use Hutchinson's terms). And unlike him, who makes those serious allegations and provides no proof whatsoever, my claim has already been documented in detail.

you seem to try too hard with an ad hominem attack on that blogger because no decent "progressive" or "Democrat" could hold such a nuanced or complex opinion


I have no problem with him presenting "a nuanced or complex opinion." I have a problem with him presenting "crap."

I do think there was some degree of political complicity among establishment Democrats for the excesses of the Bush administration, which is one reason no reckoning seems to be forthcoming.


I agree 100%. I also agree with Hutchinson's similar comment, in his post that you cited:

Democratic leaders endorsed some of Bush's most injurious policies. Bashing Bush might seem fun, but it fails to hold Democrats accountable


I'm not shy about bashing Democrats (some proof here). But I'm also not shy about bashing someone who seems to be so interested in bashing Democrats (despite calling himself "far to the Left of Obama") that he resorts to posting "crap."

In my opinion, he seems to be trying to carve out a niche for himself as a Democrat-bashing Democrat. To a great extent this consists of claiming that other Democrats have not adopted clear, principled positions. Meanwhile, ironically, I find that he rarely makes a clear statement of his own position (especially regarding subject matter that is "nuanced or complex"). For example, let me know if you can discover where he states his own position on torture and rendition. I can't find it.

I remain interested in some more substantive revelations


Same here.

===========
elliot:

Let's not confuse nuance with obfuscation and evasion.


I'm not. But I notice that your latest attempt at obfuscation and evasion consists of throwing out a bunch of undocumented red herrings. Let us know when you're ready to stop ducking the question I asked you.

===========
fury:

he seemed to have a good read on the matter


On the contrary. I already explained that he called something "unclear" that wasn't unclear at all. And should especially not be "unclear" to a professor of law.

He obviously was following the issue to some degree.


He was obviously not following the issue to a degree that would justify him insinuating that the Branchflower report was "fishy" and "a bunch of moose crap." That's not something a responsible person says about a report they haven't read.

Professor Hutchinson is upfront on what he believes happened


What he said "he believes happened" is that the media chose to hurt Palin by neglecting to cover Troopergate. Huh? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If Palin was longing for more Troopergate coverage, all she had to do was call a press conference and announce that she wanted to discuss Troopergate.

The ADN provided several good summaries of the report if memory serves, perhaps he read those.


If he read those, it's hard to understand why he claimed the basic issue was "unclear." Because ADN and many other publications made the basic issue extremely clear.

what difference is it that the comments come from a "tenured professor of law"?


Because compared with an average person, a "tenured professor of law" has an even greater capacity to understand the simple legal issues at the heart of this matter. Issues that he claimed were "unclear," even though they weren't.

Hutchinson essentially took the position that he couldn't understand how it could be simultaneously possible that Palin had the right to fire Monegan, but also didn't have the right to pressure Monegan to fire Wooten. Huh? It's not complicated. The two issues are separable.

He's entitled to a life outside of his teaching and that includes blogging on a variety of issues.


That's a complete non sequitur. I never suggested he is not "entitled to a life outside of his teaching." What I have suggested is that he's not entitled to peddle crap.

Hutchinson has a polite and courteous tone.


He does, except when he doesn't. Insinuating that the Branchflower report was "fishy" and "a bunch of moose crap" does not fit my concept of "polite and courteous."

you take a lot of crap and indeed insults that are over the top on VC


Thank you for pointing that out. People who rely on gratuitous insults (which I distinguish from earned, substantiated insults) discredit themselves and their cause, and in this manner provide an inadvertent public service.

By the way, you deserve to be complimented because I do always find your tone to be polite and courteous, even when you and I are disagreeing vehemently. Even though I'm not shy about criticizing your reasoning, I have a lot of respect for the way you express yourself.
2.3.2009 10:08pm
MarkField (mail):
For more on Prof. Hutchinson, see the latest post by Hilzoy.
2.3.2009 11:28pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I'm not. But I notice that your latest attempt at obfuscation and evasion consists of throwing out a bunch of undocumented red herrings. Let us know when you're ready to stop ducking the question I asked you."

Daschle quit because of a red herring? ObamExcuse?
2.3.2009 11:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

Daschle quit because of a red herring?


He quit because he has enough judgment to realize when it's a good idea to quit. You don't.

Speaking of quitting: let us know when you're ready to quit ducking the question I asked you.

======================
mark:

For more on Prof. Hutchinson, see the latest post by Hilzoy.


Thanks. I didn't notice that. So Hutchinson made a substantive change to his post, without marking it as an update. And here he admits making the change, but takes no responsibility for failing to mark it as an update.

Meanwhile, a question I asked him here, about 22 hours ago, goes unanswered. Even though he had posted in this thread five times before I asked him the question. And even though in the time since I asked him that question here, he's had enough time to post 4 times in Hilzoy's thread, and 6 times in his own thread. And he's also had time to write a brand-new 1000-word post.

And what's interesting about the question I asked him is that someone else ("DR") asked him the same question, here, in his own thread, just a couple of hours after I asked my question here. And even though Hutchinson has posted five times in his own thread, subsequent to DR's question, Hutchinson has not acknowledged or answered that question.

So I hope he eventually finds time to address the question that was raised.
2.4.2009 8:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Some interesting dialog between Hutchinson and various commenters can also be found here.
2.4.2009 9:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
And Brad DeLong has expressed some skepticism regarding Hutchinson's self-proclaimed identity as a progressive.
2.4.2009 9:23am
Elliot123 (mail):
"He quit because he has enough judgment to realize when it's a good idea to quit. You don't."

Sure it was a good idea to quit. It was a good idea because Obama promised the most ethical administration in history, promptly went out and hired a bunch of retreads, lobbyists, and tax cheats, and then he got caught.

How about Marc Rich or Bernie Maddoff for the Obama administration? I hear there are some nuanced vacancies.
2.4.2009 11:01am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Sure it was a good idea to quit.


I guess this is your way of reminding us that you're going to keep ducking the question I asked you.

Obama promised the most ethical administration in history


Let us know if you can actually show a citation for your claim. I don't remember him saying that.

However, I do remember a candidate who talked incessantly (link, link, link) about restoring honor and dignity to the White House. Interesting how that worked out.
2.4.2009 1:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Let us know if you can actually show a citation for your claim. I don't remember him saying that."

"In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again."
2.4.2009 1:31pm
nicehonesty:
jukeboxspam:

I'll repeat the question that you refused to answer:

When Obama ordered those Muslim men, women, and children to be blown up in Pakistan, were those judicial kills or extrajudicial kills?

We both know the answer is extrajudicial (unless you can point out a legitimate court verdict ordering that those innocent Pakistanis be executed) — which technically makes Obama a war criminal — but only you seem unable to admit it.

Also, I still feel no compunction to apologize for exposing your extensive efforts to spread the lie that extraordinary rendition started under Reagan, when you knew all along that it was Clinton's program.

Finally, good luck with your excommunication efforts with the DissentingJustice guy. Liberals like him who retain their principles regardless of the political party in charge are going to be a real threat to you Obama torture apologists, so you'd better step up the effort to marginalize him as some kind of heretical neocon-ish concern troll — even if, as Just an Observer points out, you have to spread more lies and distortions to do so.
2.4.2009 2:19pm
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty,

Please do not involve me in your partisan name-calling. I never accused jukeboxgrad of "spread[ing] more lies and distortions."

Having now read today's follow-up comments by Dissenting Justice over at Obsidian Wings, I think I better understand his position, which seems to be that true "liberals" should oppose all rendition not accompanied by legal extradition, whether that involves torture or not. Not considering myself a "liberal," I feel no compulsion to take a position on that. (I have opposed rendition-for-torture, but one does not have to be a "liberal" to do that.)

As I mentioned in my original comment, I think Dissenting Justice erred in his original generalization that "liberals" have historically taken his more absolutist position -- he basically references Amnesty International as a benchmark --and that these "liberals" have now flip-flopped. And I haven't noticed him citing any examples of particular persons flip-flopping, as jukeboxgrad points out. I just don't think that makes the blogger a "concern troll."
2.4.2009 2:59pm
nicehonesty:
I didn't involve you in any name-calling, Just an Observer.

I merely highlighted the fact that even a partisan like you on jukeboxspam's own side felt obliged to point out that he had gone too far in distorting the posts at DissentingJustice by taking sections out of context so he could dishonestly apply the label "concern troll."
2.4.2009 3:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

In the garden, growth has it seasons


I notice you're hearing voices again. I hope you're getting the support you need.

Any chance you might answer the question I asked you, or are you going to keep ducking it?

================
nicehonesty:

I'll repeat the question that you refused to answer


I did answer the question. Is there a problem with your reading comprehension, or your integrity? Or both?

We both know the answer is extrajudicial


"Extrajudicial" means done without legal authority, or in contravention of law. When civilians die in war, this is not considered "extrajudicial killing," unless the war is illegal, or unless the civilians were targeted deliberately. Are you claiming this is what Obama did?

which technically makes Obama a war criminal


So does that mean you're claiming that Bush is a war criminal? Or do you see some distinction between Bush's attacks inside Pakistan, as compared with Obama's?

And if Bush is a war criminal, is this something you ever pointed out before? And since I think you did not, is that because war crimes are OK with you?

I still feel no compunction to apologize for exposing your extensive efforts to spread the lie


Since you're still trying to gloss over the fact that you accused me of saying something "over a dozen times," when in fact I had not done so, it seems reasonable to conclude that you were not making a mistake, but in fact lying with "no compunction."

Liberals like him who retain their principles


If you can find out what Hutchinson's "principles" are, let me know. Because while he makes a fuss about how other people are allegedly failing to take a clear, consistent position, he repeatedly ducks when asked to clearly describe his own position ("I have not taken a positionI have absolutely no opinion"). In other words, he's approximately as evasive as you.

the effort to marginalize him


There's really not much effort required, because he's doing an excellent job of marginalizing himself. But I'm sure he appreciates all the traffic that Glenn Reynolds is sending him (link, link). They deserve each other.

even a partisan like you [jao] on jukeboxspam's own side


jao said he doesn't consider himself a liberal. And he also said he is "not a Democrat." So I hope you'll explain what you mean by "side."

taking sections out of context


If you can show an example of me "taking sections out of context," I hope you'll do so. But for some strange reason you haven't.

================
jao:

I just don't think that makes the blogger a "concern troll."


FWIW, Brad DeLong seems to concur with my assessment that Hutchinson is pretending to be something he's not.
2.4.2009 3:38pm
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty: even a partisan like you on jukeboxspam's own side

What "side" is that?

I am not aware of any "Obama torture apologists" (your term) as I am not aware of any Obama torture. Nor are you, unless you have some secret evidence.

No one in that exchange -- not jukeboxgrad, Dissenting Justice, or Hilzoy -- ever said there was any such thing, and all agree seem to agree that torture is prohibited by Obama's executive orders.

The accusation of "torture" under this administration is just your own unsubstantiated calumny.
2.4.2009 3:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I notice you're hearing voices again. I hope you're getting the support you need.

Any chance you might answer the question I asked you, or are you going to keep ducking it?"


Does anyone know when the rise of the oceans will start to slow and the planet will begin to heal? What can we tell our children? Is it written on the teleprompter?
2.4.2009 5:19pm
nicehonesty:
jukeboxspam:

Your non-answer to my question (Obama thought he was going after a legitimate military target) would require that the U.S. be at war with Pakistan. Pakistan did not consider them to be legitimate military targets.

So does that mean you're claiming that Bush is a war criminal?

I agree that Obama is just as much a war criminal as Bush is.


Just an Observer:
What "side" is that?

You're the one who chimed in to categorize people as partisan opponents, and you classified yourself as being on jukeboxspam's side.


I am not aware of any "Obama torture apologists" (your term) as I am not aware of any Obama torture. Nor are you, unless you have some secret evidence.

No secret evidence, just the by-now common knowledge that Obama has ordered at least one massacre in Pakistan. Do you think blowing apart civilians with ordnance (in peaceful countries that are nominally our allies) causes them more or less severe physical and mental suffering than the waterboarding you consider to be torture does?
2.4.2009 5:40pm
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty: No secret evidence, just the by-now common knowledge that Obama has ordered at least one massacre in Pakistan. Do you think blowing apart civilians with ordnance (in peaceful countries that are nominally our allies) causes them more or less severe physical and mental suffering than the waterboarding you consider to be torture does?

Sorry, I don't bite. You first would have to prove that collateral injuries attendant to military strikes against enemy targets is the legally, morally and factually the same as torture of captives, which you have not done and cannot do. Just spouting "Obama torture apologists" and posing some rhetorical question doesn't cut it. I am under no obligation to refute such conclusory assumptions -- no matter whose "side" you think I am on.

Since I understand that we are at war, I find a military strike aimed at al Qaeda or Taliban in that area of the world to be acceptable. I do not find torture of captives, or the rendition of captives to foreign countries for the purpose of torture, to be acceptable. So far, that also seems to be the position of the Obama administration.
2.4.2009 6:25pm
nicehonesty:
Fair enough. You think that people being waterboarded by Bush is more of a concern than people being obliterated by Obama.

I'm guessing that most people would disagree with you (given the choice between the two events happening to them), but you're certainly entitled to your opinion on the matter.

(Also, if either you or jukeboxspam could provide a cite demonstrating that the U.S. is at war with Pakistan, I'd appreciate it. You've now both made that claim to justify Obama's slaughter of innocents, but I don't think it's true.)
2.4.2009 6:37pm
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty: (Also, if either you or jukeboxspam could provide a cite demonstrating that the U.S. is at war with Pakistan, I'd appreciate it. You've now both made that claim to justify Obama's slaughter of innocents, but I don't think it's true.)

Sorry, I don't bite on that transparent debating tactic either. There are lots of things that are true for which there is no case cite. Nobody claims we are at war with Pakistan, but most folks believe we are at war with al Qaeda and the Taliban. I'm not aware that this question has been litigated at all, so I doubt that you can produce a case cite to the contrary.

I am satisfied that such strikes are covered by the 2001 AUMF:

[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.


If you believe that strikes inside Pakistan by the Obama and Bush administrations have violated the law, feel free to show how. Are you one of those wimps who thinks we can't go to war without going to court first?
2.4.2009 7:02pm
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty,

To be clear, I am unaware of cases about strikes inside Pakistan. There are, of course, cases such as Hamdi about war in Afghanistan.
2.4.2009 7:07pm
nicehonesty:
Just an Observer:
I am satisfied that such strikes are covered by the 2001 AUMF:
[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

To clarify, you are satisfied that: Obama determined that it was necessary and appropriate to kill innocent Pakistanis, including children, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States, and therefore he was authorized by Congress to blow them up? Wow.

If you believe that strikes inside Pakistan by the Obama and Bush administrations have violated the law, feel free to show how.

Are you genuinely claiming that it is not a violation of international law for the U.S. to launch military strikes into a sovereign, peaceful nation and slaughter their civilians? Again, wow.
2.5.2009 12:23am
LM (mail):
I've seen Pakistan called a lot of things, but "peaceful" ain't one of them.
2.5.2009 1:22am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM.
Pakistan will be called "peaceful" when it becomes an enemy of the US. That way, anything we do will be a crime against a "peaceful" country.
You need to pay attention to the sequence.
2.5.2009 7:47am
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty: Are you genuinely claiming that it is not a violation of international law for the U.S. to launch military strikes into a sovereign, peaceful nation and slaughter their civilians? Again, wow. Again, wow.

Are you genuinely saying that I have to refute an assertion of the opposite proposition you made without a shred of proof? All you did was pose a hollow rhetorical question.

If you think Obama's strike into Pakistan is a "violation of international law," make your case. If you distinguish between his strike into Pakistan and similar acts by Bush, make that case, too, or explain why there was no distinction.

You apparently are mistaking me for someone else whose "side" you perceive me to be on, and you can't even knock down your own strawman. Again, wow.
2.5.2009 9:43am
Elliot123 (mail):
Looks like the rise of those oceans is covering up a lot of inconvenient campaign principle.
2.5.2009 10:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

Looks like the rise of those oceans


Looks like you're still ducking my questions.

inconvenient campaign principle


Speaking of "campaign principle," how did that 'honor and dignity' thing work out?

=================
aubrey:

"Pakistan will be called 'peaceful' when it becomes an enemy of the US."

There is ample basis to view Pakistan as "an enemy of the US." Pakistan has been supporting the Taliban for years.

Only three countries in the world recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan: Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Pakistan. And of course Bush went out of his way to treat all those countries as allies (example, example, example). So much for "you are either with us or against us."

Then again, Bush himself "funded the Taliban." So it's no surprise that he would be so tolerant of their other supporters.
2.5.2009 11:05am
Elliot123 (mail):
"The bar that we set is the highest that any administration in the country has ever set."
Robert Gibbs
Obama Press Sec


Now we find that Obama's nominee for Labor was treasurer of a lobbying group that lobbied the Dept of Labor. Another nuanced violation of a presidential order by the administration that set the highest ethical standards in history?
2.5.2009 11:11am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

treasurer of a lobbying group


She had an unpaid position on a board that met once a year. But please go ahead and try to make a big deal about that.

the highest ethical standards in history


Presumably you're in a position to demonstrate that another administration (recent or otherwise) set and/or achieved higher ethical standards (because that would disprove the claim you are mocking). When are you going to do so?

By the way, you still have not documented this claim:

Obama promised the most ethical administration in history


Your quote from Gibbs is something he said on Tuesday. So the quote you cited was not a campaign 'promise,' as you implied.

When are you going to prove that Obama said what you claimed he said?
2.5.2009 12:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"She had an unpaid position on a board that met once a year. But please go ahead and try to make a big deal about that."

Nuanced change we can believe in?
2.5.2009 1:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I guess you're going to continue to duck various questions, and to pretend that Obama said something he didn't say. This seems to be another instance where the things you're telling us are coming from those little voices in your head. I think we all want to support you in your recovery. Do you think talking about it might help you? Probably would. So please continue.
2.5.2009 4:07pm
Elliot123 (mail):
And here's one of the things the website of Solis' American Rights at Work lobbying organization says it does.

"
July 23, 2008
For months we've been laying the groundwork for a major on-the-ground campaign to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. And we're ready to launch, with your help.

We need to raise $10,000 in the next two weeks to hit the ground running. Can you pitch in?"


So, she's board member and treasurer(officer) of an organization that collects money so it can lobby for card check legislation.

Did the administration that set the highest ethics bar the country has ever seen grant a nuanced waiver from the presidential order barring people from policy positions at agencies they lobbied?

Yes we can! Nuance we can believe in!
2.5.2009 5:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
she's board member and treasurer(officer) of an organization that collects money so it can lobby for card check legislation


Obama's rules apply "if someone has lobbied in the last 12 months." Let us know if Solis was personally involved with any of ARW's lobbying activities in the last 12 months. Did she do any lobbying herself? Did she personally supervise any of their lobbying work? It would be nice to know. Do you?

It would also be nice to hear your answers to the various prior questions you've been ducking.
2.5.2009 8:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I cited language that had applied to the Obama transition team. I didn't realize that the currently relevant language is what's in his Executive Order:

3.  Revolving Door Ban - Lobbyists Entering Government.  If I was a registered lobbyist within the 2 years before the date of my appointment … I will not for a period of 2 years after the date of my appointment … participate in any particular matter on which I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment


"Registered Lobbyist" is defined in the Order:

"Registered lobbyist or lobbying organization" shall mean a lobbyist or an organization filing a registration pursuant to section 1603(a) of title 2, United States Code, and in the case of an organization filing such a registration, "registered lobbyist" shall include each of the lobbyists identified therein.


Let us know if you're claiming that Solis meets that definition of the term.

By the way, the Order provides for waivers under certain circumstances.
2.5.2009 9:39pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Let us know if Solis was personally involved with any of ARW's lobbying activities in the last 12 months."

She was the treasurer of the organization and an officer of the organization, personally responsible for approving hundreds of thousand of dollars in lobbying expenditures.

Yes we can... with certain understandings, waivers, exceptions, excuses, oversights, mistakes, nudges, winks, nods, and naunces...
2.6.2009 12:14am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I asked you if she was a registered lobbyist, as defined in the EO. Why are you ducking the question? Same reason you've ducked lots of other questions in this thread, and elsewhere?
2.6.2009 12:59am
Elliot123 (mail):
The Obama administration today issued new guidelines for the administration of the bail out money for the auto industry. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said a presidential order would bar any auto makers from administering the money.

When asked why the CEO of GM would head the effort, Gibbs stressed that the CEO didn't "actually make cars... like with a wrench thingy. It's like the Treasurer of GM," said Gibbs. "Although he must approve all expenditures, and even sign checks over a certain amount, he doesn't actually install fine Corinthian leather."

Gibbs repeated the claim made earlier that the Obama administration set the highest ethics bar the country has ever seen, but he stressed that the president needs the latutide to both read from a teleprompter, and disregard what he reads. "Call it a read item veto," Gibbs joked with reporters.

When asked if Obama understands what the teleprompter tells him, Gibbs said, "The president is the most technically savvy chief executive the country has ever seen. He has his Blackberry with him everywhere he goes, and it has a direct link to his teleprompter."
2.6.2009 10:53am
Just an Observer:
Elliot123, jukeboxgrad:

I fail to see how much of your conversation has anything whatsoever to do with the topic of this post.

If you just want to argue over all things Obama, pro or con, couldn't you take it outside to some other forum? I'm just another commenter, and have no authority here. But I do think the off-topic fight ruins the thread for the rest of us.
2.6.2009 11:34am

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