Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hold on just a minute

So much for keeping a low-pro. One of the remaining vetters on Obama's VP selection team, Eric Holder, decided the best defense is a good offense:
In addition to closing Gitmo, Holder insisted the next president should:

* Declare without qualification a policy that the United States will not torture political detainees, engage in forced interrogations or submit people to degrading treatment in prison;

* End all programs, covert or otherwise, to transfer detainees to nations that practice torture;

* Stop domestic search and seizures without warrant and end wiretapping of citizens.

Holder is best known for his role in the Marc Rich pardon but he was also a high-ranking Justice Official during a time when terrorism was officially a back-burner issue. One of the ways they kept it from boiling over was the "rendition" program, thrown together by former CIA bin Laden unit official and now TV analyst Michael Scheuer back in the mid 90s.

But it was apparently an old idea. Richard Clarke, who recently wrote another book trashing Bush's ruination of the universe, had a previous book wherein he described an encounter between Bill Clinton and Captain Planet about how to handle terrorists:
The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, "That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."
Emphasis added, for effect. Not very polite, sir. But sometimes it's hard to think with a headache.

But OK, right or wrong, for some unknown reason snatching terrorists and sending them via CIA airlines to countries who were kinda fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing re torture was okey dokey back then. Of course, that was back during the halcyon days of bi-partisanship, when everyone thought Saddam might one day blow up the world.

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