Sunday, May 31, 2009

Obama Employs Rendition...or is it Rendition-Lite?

According to the New York Times, Barack Obama has ok’d the continued use of foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate, and detain all but the most highest profile captures from Iraq and Afghanistan. When a soverign uses a foreign government’s intelligence services to capture, interrogation, and detain hostiles, it is known as rendition.

Rendition is a technique that was employed by the Bush Administration and was condemned by groups like Human Rights Watch. The problem, they say, is that even though a government might get assurances of protection of the detainees human rights from the intelligence service performing the rendition, it is only an assurance. They frequently use examples of hostiles that died in the hands of the intelligence agency performing the rendition.

The only significant difference between what the Bush Administration did under rendition and what the Obama Administration is now doing is the method of capture. Under Bush, armed forces seized the hostile and turned them over to a foreign intelligence service to perform the deed. Under the Obama Administration, they simply guide a foreign intelligence agency on where they can find them, and then have them extracted and questioned. I guess this is rendition-lite.

Despite his promises to the contrary, Obama has issued executive orders to virtually chart the same course as the Bush Administration. Hypocritically, Obama through stones at the Bush Administration for “losing it’s way” on these types of matters. Apparently Obama’s way really isn’t that different than Bush. The only significant difference seems to be the rhetoric.

For more on the subject, a must read would be the New Republic’s story refuting Vice-President Cheney’s criticism of Obama making America “less safe.” The author actually points out 11 points in which the Obama Administration is in fact continuing the Bush Administration’s lead on counter-terrorism.

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