Monday, December 19, 2005

It Should Never Come To That

I'm glad to see Congress push through Senator McCain's prohibition against torture. While I don't expect it to provide any protection for our troops with respect to our current adversary, it's necessary for two major reasons. First, the United States should be above such tactics, regardless of the nature of the enemy. Second, torture (or abusive interrogation techniques of any kind) are an instance of punishment prior to adjudication. Due process is the key to any system that seeks to mete out actual justice. This was clearly demonstrated in the case of the German citizen, Khaled El-Masri, who was kidnapped by the CIA and interrogated for 5 months in an extra-judicial prison in Afghanistan. This proved to be a case of mistaken identity, as the victim of this "extraordinary rendition" merely shared the name of the person sought. Without the oversight of the courts and some semblance of due process, any number of innocent people could be swept up and "disappeared" by the government. In America, it should never come to that.

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