Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » LOTD

LOTD

Filed at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

A GOP-bot almost stumbles on Truth:

“The new president’s only agenda is to undo everything that was put in place by the former administration, with no interest in the cost to this once-great nation.”

But her construction is a little mangled. This way is much clearer, IMO:

The new president’s only agenda is to undo everything that was put in place, with no interest in the cost to this once-great nation, by the former administration.

12 Responses to “LOTD”


Comment by
john
February 6th, 2009
at 8:33 am

Well, with the exception of extra-ordinary rendition, of course.


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 6th, 2009
at 8:57 am

Come again?


Comment by
john
February 6th, 2009
at 11:16 am

I may be mistaken. but I understand that the new administration has endorsed rendition:

latime....story


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 6th, 2009
at 11:44 am

Yes, you’re mistaken. Or, more precisely, you were misled by the LAT. “Rendition” is just another name for extradition. “Extraordinary rendition” is the program that Bush used to send people to Egypt or elsewhere to be tortured. That program was ended by Exec Order on Obama’s 2nd day in office. Leon Panetta, in his confirmation hearings for CIA chief, was asked about it. In stark terms he said that the US would not use extraordinary rendition in the future and would follow all of the requirements of the UN Convention on Torture.


Comment by
john
February 6th, 2009
at 4:05 pm

But rendition is not another name for extradition. Rendered individuals are transferred without the opportunity to consult an attourney or to contest the transfer before a judge – both of which are available under extradition, both in the US and other western nations.

I accept that the new administration has outlawed the rendition of individuals to locations where they are likely to face torture (I concede I misunderstood the distinction between extra-ordinary rendition and ordinary rendition, though to be fair the distinction was not made by many liberal commentators prior to the change of administration).

But the continuation of rendition hardly reflects an attitude which has respect for liberal traditions or the rule of law.


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 6th, 2009
at 9:14 pm

“But rendition is not another name for extradition. ”

Yes, it is. There were several posts on lefty/legal blogs last week about it. It’s a legal term. Ordinary rendition and extradition are used interchangeably. It was the extraordinary rendition that Obama put an end to.


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 6th, 2009
at 9:19 pm

Wikipedia has a good summary. en.wik...ition_(law)


Comment by
john
February 7th, 2009
at 11:45 am

Well, I looked at the Wikipedia article you referenced, and it is quite clear from it that rendition and extradition are not interchangeable – extradition is a subset of rendition. Furthermore the article deals with judicial rendition between states within the US – not rendition to other countries. The main article on extra-ordinary rendition defines it as:

the apprehension and extra judicial transfer of a person from one state to another.

I am quite happy to accept that definition – but if we do so then we must admit that the new administration endorses extraordinary rendition. The fact that the new administration abides by US treaty obligations relating to torture is of course a massive step in the right direction – kudos to Obasma. But extra-judicial rendition continues – whether we call it extra-ordinary or not. Its not liberal and its not clever.


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 7th, 2009
at 12:36 pm

the apprehension and extra judicial transfer of a person from one state to another.

If we apprehend OBL in Pakistan and bring him to trial in the US that would NOT be an example of extraordinary rendition.


Comment by
john
February 7th, 2009
at 3:33 pm

According to that definition (from Wikipedia), then yes it would – unless jurisdiction has been granted by, say, a Pakistani court, or an international court.

It is always tempting, of course, to bend the rules in particular circumstances, but liberties, unless they are universally applicable, are merely special pleading.

We should not judge the merits of a policy only on its effect upon the criminal. After all, a similar argument would apply for ignoring habeas corpus in other circumstances, such as arresting and holding suspects indefinitely on the basis of suspicion (see, for example, the extension of detention in the case of terrorist suspects in the UK to 42 days).

After all, if there is sufficient evidence against an individual to warrant their apprehension and extradition in the first place, then why wouldn’t we wish to ensure that the individual is brought before a court to demonstrate that evidence? Which court in Pakistan would not be glad to be shot of OBM, given the effect US involvement has had on Pakistan in the last 7 years?


Comment by
dcobranchi
February 7th, 2009
at 3:47 pm

And what if they weren’t? Or what if the Taliban were still in power in Afghanistan and refused to arrest him, let alone extradite? Are we supposed to just sit idly by? The Constitution is not a suicide pact.


Comment by
john
February 7th, 2009
at 4:55 pm

what if they weren’t?

Two answers to this really – no. 1: tough. I’m pretty certain you don’t want Pakistani ISI abducting people on the streets of New York, so perhaps you shouldn’t condone the CIA doing it in Karachi.

No 2: Even if you don’t trust Pakistani Courts to extradite OBL, what is to stop the executive seeking court approval through US courts, in the form of an arrest warrant? It might not keep Pakistan happy, but at least it provides judicial oversight and lends legitimacy.

But lets not get distracted – hard cases make bad law. The practice of rendition does not just apply to OBL – it applies to anyone and everyone your government chooses to abduct.

Or what if the Taliban were still in power in Afghanistan and refused to arrest him, let alone extradite? Are we supposed to just sit idly by?

Well I think we have the answer to that already, don’t we? But strangely, despite invading Afghanistan and eight years of further searching, still no OBL.

May I refer you to one of your founding fathers:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin

Now, perhaps we will have to agree to disagree on this, but I can’t help but think that you would be far less inclined to cut thee White House slack on this issue if the previous incumbent was still in office.