Bob's Links and Rants

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Following up on my previous post. The WSWS has an article today about Condiliar's trip to Europe. Condi is basically blackmailing European governments because of their complicity in the illegal tactics used in the "war on terror"--rendition, secret prisons, torture. "You complain about us and we'll tell your people how much you've helped us" is basically how the Bad Witch of the West is threatening the German, French and other governments.

I disagree with just about everything done in the name of the "war on terror," but I can vaguely sort of comprehend some of the arguments. Arbitrary detention? If you've got intelligence indicating something bad is going to be done tomorrow, and you've got ten suspects, detaining them all for two days is arguably prudent, if not just. (And it doesn't have to be a dingy torture chamber--a nice apartment with secure locks would do.) The "ticking bomb" scenario convinces a lot of people that torture is justified in some circumstances, although I don't think it is. Even flying people to other countries, if done to prevent communication with accomplices or for their own protection--maybe an argument can be made.

But the one thing that I think is absolutely completely indefensible is the secrecy. If the government is going to pretend that it has right on its side, it should be willing to let the world know exactly what it is doing. Every arrest, detention, rendition, and interrogation technique should be done in the full light of day, held up to scrutiny. The type of "terrorists" the Bushies claim to be fighting--a shadowy network of trained operatives planning major attacks--would be best foiled by shining light into the dark corners. Consider, for example, if the "President's Daily Brief" of August 6, 2001 hadn't been concealed from the public for 2 1/2 years, and instead been released to the Washington Post on 8/6/01. The curious behavior of flight students in Arizona, Minnesota and Florida might well have been linked, appropriate securiy measures might have been put in place, and 9/11 might never have happened. And in these cases where they've held the wrong guy secretly for months or years? If his detention had been made public, friends or relatives could have proven the guy's innocence, and the CIA would have known that the real suspect was still on the loose. Both justice and the needs of protecting against terror attacks would have been served by openness. Secrecy isn't a weapon against terror--it's a weapon of terror. I don't think the Bushies care in the least that a huge percentage of the people they've detained and tortured weren't and aren't guilty of anything. Holding them is a threat to the world--we're badasses, and we'll lock you up if we feel like it--and nobody can stop us. The Bushies are bullies; they're terrorists.