Trusting Rice on torture

News & Politics

A brief look around the blogosphere reveals a bit of confusion on Condoleezza Rice's statements on rendition. Over at Opinio Juris, Julian Ku puts the emphasis on the wrong parts of Rice's assertions:

-- The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture.
-- 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.
-- 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.

He follows up with this: "Of course, many folks may not believe her. But it means something when the U.S. Secretary of State goes on the record like this. It means that if there is bad stuff going on in the rendition process, and it becomes public, she and the administration will be in a bad position. But it also means that if this statement is accurate, then there is a huge uproar about renditions that is essentially about nothing."

Nonsense! Rice did not deny that renditions were ocurring or that we are using other countries' airspace an airports. Rather, she is stating that we don't do it "for the purpose of interrogation using torture." Simply put, nothing new is being said. The administration has always insisted that they aren't using torture in interrogations. Similarly, Rice is not denying that we are sending detainees to countries that use torture, she is merely reiterating the administration's lipservice to the CIA's policy of getting assurances that a person will not be tortured once sent there. Which, in the past, has proven to be something of a joke.

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