Sunday, February 01, 2009

Will The Left Go Nuts Over This?

I came across these two stories in a close enough time span that I thought the message most interesting.

Story one:

The CIA's secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these discredited programs, President Barack Obama left an equally controversial counterterrorism tool intact.

Under executive orders issued by Obama last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, or the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the U.S.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said the rendition program is poised to play an expanded role because it is the main remaining mechanism—aside from Predator missile strikes—for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

Story two:

As President Obama's motorcade rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, federal authorities deployed a closely held law enforcement tool: equipment that can jam cellphones and other wireless devices to foil remote-controlled bombs, sources said.

It is an increasingly common technology, with federal agencies expanding its use as state and local agencies are pushing for permission to do the same.
I think the hopenchange speaks for itself.

Update: It seems that some on the left are going Scanners over rendition.

Update #2, 2/2/09: Sure enough, now Human Rights Watch is flip-flopping on renditions. At least the Democrat who wrote that post is consistent enough to call them out on their change of heart, which no doubt comes only because President Obama and not President Bush is authorizing the renditions.

Update #3, 2/6/09: The words of the Instapundit:
HOPE AND CHANGE! Panetta: Rendition Will Continue, Would Ask Obama to Authorize Harsher Interrogation Methods “If Necessary.” You know, much more of this and I’ll start to think that all the concern over rendition and waterboarding was just insincere electoral hooey.

Update #4, 2/9/09: The Obama Administration is using the exact same argument--state secrets--the Bush Administration used, and they're using it in an anti-torture lawsuit. That sound you hear is that of blood vessels bursting in the heads of lefties.

I don't fault Obama for using it, of course. I fault him for disparaging President Bush's use of it.


Anonymous said...

Renditions aren't nearly as bad without torture and secret prisons. :/

Darren said...

Which is why we "render" them to countries that don't have such moral qualms. :-)

Ronnie said...

Why is the second part even worth mentioning? Jamming isn't exactly the same as torture, it's a useful tool when trying to prevent wireless detonators. I believe if a local police station had a reasonable belief that a bomb was in a building that the bomb squad should be able to put out a general jam while the threat is confirmed. I disagree with wanton signal jamming but I just don't understand how your "hopechange" bit really speaks for itself with regard to protecting the President during one of his most public and therefore dangerous days.

Darren said...

Perhaps you're right, Ronnie. It's OK to jam the communications of Americans in the American capital, it's just not OK to listen in on phone calls coming from outside the US to potential terrorists.

I'm not saying that *I* have a problem with the jamming of phone calls in this instance, although that's certainly a tool I wouldn't grant to law enforcement as a regular policy. My point here is that the *left* would have screamed bloody murder about this had it become known during President Bush's term.

I'll eventually be posting an update about the flip-flops by so-called human rights groups regarding renditions, just so we can see that they're more interested in being partisan than in actual, you know, human rights.

rightwingprof said...

It's currently illegal for local police to jam signals. Look for that to change, as we get our "Hope and Change!" from the jug-eared jackass.

Ronnie said...

I highly doubt temporary jamming in the interest of preventing wireless detonators would have been an issue to the left or right under any president. Bush might have been blamed for many things that weren't his fault but I highly doubt anyone reputable would have even bothered with this.

I don't know enough about the specifics of the expansion of renditions to condone or denounce it, but even during Bush's presidency I felt that if we had reason to return a supposed criminal to a country in which crimes had been committed then rendition both made sense and distanced ourselves from the position of world police. Rendition with the goal of using methods unavailable in the United States to torture someone is entirely reprehensible, but if it's either kill them or give them to someone else whose version of human rights greatly differs with ours, it's hard to argue that killing them is worse. I find it disappointing that we don't have a third option involving some well defined international court.

Darren said...

I don't know why we need international courts when the tribunals set up under the auspices of the Congress and President are entirely legal under the Geneva Conventions.

Darren said...

And Ronnie, I don't agree with your first sentence at all. I note that you amend it to "anyone reputable" in your second sentence, and even then I doubt you're correct.

No way to prove it either way, I guess, so here's one where we're both left with our own biases.