Monday, December 05, 2005

Qualified (Condi Rice splits hairs)

From Secretary Rice's speech today:

The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture. [The stated purpose of a rendition is largely an issue of rhetoric, much as the stated purpose of invading Iraq is largely a matter of rhetoric.]

The United States does not use the airspace or the airports of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee to a country where he or she will be tortured. [Again, we're relying on intent as justification, which is easily spoofed and impossible to verify.]

The United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured. Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured. [Trust us. Not like you have a choice.]

We have found a way for our Secretary of State--without lying--to deflect all potential criticism while refusing to allow any independent verification. So long as we didn't "intend" or "expect" abuse to happen (trust us!), actual outcomes don't so much matter. So long as we had assurances, our civilian leadership is free from all true accountability for anything that actually happens. (Wink, wink.)

All I can say is that I admire the fancy lawyering.


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