Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 17, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION....In the annals of "no shit" moments, this lede has to be somewhere in the top ten:

The system the CIA relies on to ensure that the suspected terrorists it transfers to other countries will not be tortured has been ineffective and virtually impossible to monitor, according to current and former intelligence officers and lawyers, as well as counterterrorism officials who have participated in or reviewed the practice.

Yes. "Ineffective." Indeed it has been, hasn't it? Ineffective, that is.

I'm not trying to poke fun at Dana Priest, who's a terrific reporter and (perhaps) didn't have much choice except to lead with something like this if she wanted to write the story at all. And she includes plenty of quotes that make it pretty clear everyone knows exactly what's going on.

Still, it's a little hard to take. The lede makes it sound as if we just have a quality control problem or a bureaucratic snafu of some kind, when in fact we all know perfectly well that this is deliberate policy on the part of our government. Fifty years from now I imagine we'll look back on this the same we look back at blacklists and World War II internment camps today. At least, I hope so.

POSTSCRIPT: On a related note, over at Obsidian Wings, Hilzoy reports that Rep. Edward Markey has introduced a bill to end the practice of turning prisoners over to countries that engage in torture. Unfortunately, over at Crooked Timber, Ted Barlow reports that the bill is sponsored solely by Democrats and has zero chance of even being considered, let alone passed. He suggests a campaign to try to get one (1) Republican on board as a cosponsor.

Kevin Drum 1:03 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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