Friday, March 28, 2008

Extraordinary Rendition (ER)

This makes one wonder: how does ER compare to ordinary rendition? Not that it matters much.

I just finished watching the DVD movie, "Rendition"---well acted, well directed, thought-provoking, and a nice little twist to it. Of course, it was Hollywood fiction; however, there was a very interesting documentary in the "Special Features" section. The documentary detailed the cases of two Muslims, one a British citizen and one a German citizen. Devastating stories---both were kidnapped, flown to several overseas prisons (one after the other), and tortured---both physically and mentally. The German was finally released (after many months) in the middle of nowhere, in the dark of night, on foot. After about eighteen months, the Brit was sent to Gitmo where he still has not had a trial.

The longer fictional movie and the short documentary caused me to wonder what has happened to the ethics of ordinary citizens in all countries and the rule of law in general in this country... that we ordinary people allow our governments to kidnap and torture people (whether guilty or not) with barely a peep of protest.

ER is the forceful kidnapping and torture of SUSPECTS, without any regard to the rule of law. One can claim, and many do, that it is necessary for various reasons...and that it saves lives. In other words, a good end justifies the most foul means. That should never be the case, because if we make it so, then the rule of law is meaningless AND there is no end to the use of foul means. A truly civilized society would no longer exist.

Apparently we citizens of the U.S. allow the CIA to conduct ER for one (or more) of the following reasons:
1. we think it is necessary [thus implicitly agreeing that a good end justifies foul means, and that the rule of law sometimes needs to be set aside];
2. we think the victims of ER are guilty...of something...and so kidnapping and torture are justified [never mind that the victims have not been proven guilty in a court of law];
3. it isn't us being kidnapped, so we let it slide [and we cling to the belief that it could never happen to us...unless, of course, a genuine terrorist MISDIALS our phone number...or we know someone who knows someone else who knows still someone else who is a suspect];
4. we believe that there is little or nothing we can do to stop the practice [apparently disregarding the cases where massive protests and boycotts have in fact changed government policy].
5. [there is some other reason of which I am unaware].

Have we lost our minds? This country once stood foursquare against things that we (or more accurately, members of our govt) now do with little or no regret. If we do not have the rule of law, due process, and the guarantee of our day in court, then we truly have very little.

ER is an outrageous affront to a free society. We should be protesting en masse in the streets in every major city in the country. We should be on general strike...we should be shutting down the Fed Govt through boycotts. We should be standing up for the rule of law.

Instead, we let it pass. After all, we have jobs, families, lives to live. Sure, some of us send protest emails, or write letters to the editor, etc. That'll get 'em to stop. Or, we just don't care---it's not important to US as individuals.

[I think I know how McCain & Clinton feel about ER. I wonder how Obama feels about it?]

I find all this incredible. "God" help our children and grandchildren.

Just my opinion.