Surprise! Obama expands renditions

posted at 9:12 am on February 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

For the last seven years, the Left has screeched hysterically over the CIA practice of rendition, in which agents turn detainees over to authorities in their home country for interrogation.  Never mind that the practice started in the Clinton administration, and never mind that the other options were Guantanamo Bay, release, or two caps in the back of the head; they pilloried Bush over renditions as if he’d thought them up himself.  Hollywood even made a movie about how awful the process is, apparently matched in awfulness only by the film’s box office.

Barack Obama exploited that outrage when he promised Hope and ChangeTM, and the Left squealed with joy over the Brave New Obama World in national security.  Now they’ll have to squeal again as Obama has had a sudden revelation as President that renditions are more necessary than ever, if the CIA can’t hold these subjects at Gitmo or its own secret sites:

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 programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

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

Renditions created a huge global controversy primarily because the home countries of the terrorists torture for information.  Most of these terror suspects grabbed by the CIA come from countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and other emirates where the Geneva Convention only provides a veneer of respectability and not legal constraints of any kind.  Critics complained that the CIA essentially “outsourced” its torture to subcontractors in this rendition process, ensuring that these methods would get used without getting their own hands dirty and getting the information torture produced.

Unfortunately, though, the political jeremiads of the Left has given Obama little room to manuever.  He has already ordered the CIA to close its holding sites for such suspects, at least for indeterminate-length detentions, which means any terrorists taken have to be moved somewhere else in a relatively tight time frame.  The one place the US has for that purpose will close, thanks to the entirely hysterical political press to close Gitmo.  The CIA by law cannot bring the suspects back to the US.  That leaves release, rendition, or assassination as the only three options left to Obama after all of the political posturing of the campaign.

Frankly, I think the US does a better job of treating its detainees than anywhere a rendition program would deliver them, but without a Gitmo or CIA holding site, that’s the only way to ensure that we can get any intelligence that will protect the US.  I’m not surprised that Obama has reached the same conclusion, now that he has the responsibility to keep the nation secure from foreign attack.  It’s amazing how clarifying that responsibility can be, and Obama at least must have a little more comprehension of what Bush went through the last seven years.

Perhaps the Left will suddenly realize the same logic and give him a pass on this.  Somehow, though, I think renditions may be a bridge too far for them, and I expect that Obama will take a pretty big hit from the hysterics in the next couple of days.

Update: Moe Lane notes the emergence of several new pro-torture bloggers, at least according to their own standards during the Bush administration.


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My point is that there is a real threat and a real chance if we that we can lose the war of Islamic terrorism. If you don’t believe it, there’s nothing else to say.

hawkdriver on February 1, 2009 at 10:17 AM

I honestly don’t believe that. Guess we’re at an impasse.

DeathToMediaHacks on February 1, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Well then should God Forbid we ever have to defend our home soil, do not climb in my foxhole. I will use you as a bulletproof vest.

Patrick S on February 1, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Where’s that little troll, Noneya? Last night she was soooo excited to catch Sarah Palin seeking some of Obama’s stimulus money and was rubbing this apparent inconsistency in everyone’s face.

Ain’t irony grand?

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Well then should God Forbid we ever have to defend our home soil, do not climb in my foxhole. I will use you as a bulletproof vest.
Patrick S on February 1, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Then use him for a sandbag.

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Ain’t irony grand?

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Selective outrage.

hawkdriver on February 1, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Selective outrage.

hawkdriver on February 1, 2009 at 11:35 AM

As usual.

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Where’s 60 Minutes?! Aren’t they annoyed by this? Where is Bob Simon or Scott Pelly?

jencab on February 1, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Oh, but you’ll wish you had never asked.

The MSM has a new mission. No longer the gatekeepers who hold government responsible, the mission of the MSM is to destroy ordinary citizens who dissent from Barack Obama.

Expect exposes of Rush Limbaugh, Joe the Plumber, your pastor, your next door neighbor.

In other words, the MSM — whether they admit it or not — are the fascist stormtroopers, or as even the disgraced Al Gore admitted, they are digital brownshirts.

jeff_from_mpls on February 1, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Due to this news, I’m going to write an article in my college newspaper, entitled, “Why Does The Left Love Torture?”

Should be a big hit at an 80% liberal college.

nickj116 on February 1, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Should be a big hit at an 80% liberal college.

nickj116 on February 1, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Where should I address the package of bandages and Betadine swabs?

hawkdriver on February 1, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Should be a big hit at an 80% liberal college.

nickj116 on February 1, 2009 at 11:52 AM

That sounds like a pretty conservative college. Where is it? I have a kid to send soon.

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Well now that The Chosen One is in charge, things are “different”. More “nuance” from the left. Just as ‘dissent was patriotic’. Not anymore it’s not.

GarandFan on February 1, 2009 at 11:58 AM

That sounds like a pretty conservative college. Where is it? I have a kid to send soon.

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Hillsdale College! The best and most conservative college in the country—and they take NO federal dollars.

IrishEi on February 1, 2009 at 12:00 PM

IrishEi on February 1, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Thanks! Looking into it, but the page loads slow. Maybe blocked in China…

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Hillsdale is where I would send my kids. We get their newsletter, Imprimis. As noted above they do not take federal money and can actually educate kids about things they need to know. Like the Federalist Papers and Founding Fathers. And even economics. It’s a great place to get a liberal arts education. My nephew opted out because he needed a tech curriculum. Clarence Thomas has spoken there and they were cordial and welcomed him. They didn’t dis-invite him. Amazing.

BetseyRoss on February 1, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Where should I address the package of bandages and Betadine swabs?

That would be to the wonderfully liberal University of Washington, who just recently decided that the 2009 Common Book for incoming freshamn to read was “Dreams of My Father” by Barack Obama.

nickj116 on February 1, 2009 at 12:16 PM

And yes, I know how to spell “freshmen.” Love typos.

nickj116 on February 1, 2009 at 12:18 PM

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Here’s a clip from their Honor Code. It should give you an idea of mission:

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are every person’s natural rights. Mindful of these gifts from God, Hillsdale College students uphold their rights with care for the common good.

Self-government is a challenge with the promise of a rich reward: liberty of the soul. A soul enjoys liberty when it is ordered—when its passions are ruled by reason and its habit is virtue. Hillsdale College exists for the improvement and ultimate happiness of its students. This great and enduring happiness is its highest purpose.

Guided by faculty, staff and their parents, Hillsdale College students learn to cherish the liberty of the soul; to defend, as the College founders declared, the “civil and religious liberty” of the American order; and to live with “intelligent piety” as self-governing citizens and scholars.

They are promoted by Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, and other conservatives. I subscribe to their free newsletter, Imprimis. Excellent publication.

I wish I had known about Hillsdale before I sent my oldest off to college. Now I have to de-brief him every time he comes home. Not easy.

IrishEi on February 1, 2009 at 12:22 PM

nickj116 on February 1, 2009 at 12:18 PM

lol. I’m probably the worst with tpyos on this site. You’re among friends.

hawkdriver on February 1, 2009 at 12:22 PM

That would be to the wonderfully liberal University of Washington, who just recently decided that the 2009 Common Book for incoming freshamn to read was “Dreams of My Father” by Barack Obama.

nickj116 on February 1, 2009 at 12:16 PM

I would hazard a guess the the “dreams” Obama’s father had were nothing at all matching what is portrayed in the book. Something we all should emulate, of course. Takes off to do his own thing when responsibility and challenges rise up to greet him. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, but not in the opposite direction. /s

coldwarrior on February 1, 2009 at 12:24 PM

read was “Dreams of My Father To Have A Hotie Mamma In Every Country He Visit” by Barack Obama.

Subtitled, “Why I Like Having But Hate Raising the Little B@stards”

hawkdriver on February 1, 2009 at 12:28 PM

IrishEi on February 1, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Thanks for the information and link. Unfortunately it doesn’t load for me, but I’ll look into it offline. Hopefully technical degrees are available.

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2009 at 12:30 PM

I would hazard a guess the the “dreams” Obama’s father had were nothing at all matching what is portrayed in the book. Something we all should emulate, of course. Takes off to do his own thing when responsibility and challenges rise up to greet him. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, but not in the opposite direction. /s

coldwarrior on February 1, 2009 at 12:24 PM

The tough keep driving drunk even after their accidents result in the amputation of both legs; they keep driving drunk until they manage to kill themselves. That’s persistence, folks.
/

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Anyone see the movie “Taken?” Its refreshing to see a conservative movie and it has a funny dialogue on the pitfalls of rendition versus do-it-yourself torture.

NNtrancer on February 1, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Trancer, we’ll have to check that out, thanks.

Tony737 on February 1, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Wow, complete nutter!!!!

Keemo on February 1, 2009 at 12:53 PM

When you look at it as a whole, Obama’s life does in some way seem to reflect that “my Dad took off” thing. One of the several facets of Obama’s life, really, that bears a bit of consideration.

His dad started out creating something [the infant, Obama]…then moved on to other tasks, horizons, ambitions, dreams, if you will. Look at Obama’s own pattern. Much of the same. The constant campaign. His noted efforts in Chicago…raising an issue, or issues, getting the ball rolling, then moving on to other things, and if the housing projects fell apart after he worked to bring the problem to public notice, so what? He got the ball rolling.

Whatever it took, by hook or crook, to get into the Illinois House, and to the US Senate, it was part of a similar pattern…it is all about the campaign, never about real problem solving, getting one’s hands dirty, raising a sheen of sweat across one’s back from dawn to dusk, no, it is all about the superficial, the constant campaign. He campaigned long and hard to get that Senate seat, got nasty, often, anything or anyone who or which stood in his way, got rolled over or taken out. But a US Senate seat? A pinnacle of success for the average guy, and Obama did what while in the Senate? Started campaigning again.

When the going gets tough…yeah, start another campaign, move along, find a better niche, but above all, do not stop, assess, get involved and accomplish real solutions.

We’ve all seen it in our own towns and neighborhoods…the guy with all the great ideas, always has a better idea, if only the mayor did this, or the city council did that, but actually, themselves, take off their jackets, roll up their sleeves, and get sweaty and dirty fixing something? Nope. That’s for some other poor schmuck to do. He’s the idea guy, after all, so why should he get involved in the finer details of actually accomplishing work?

It all about the effort. The effort is what is important. Not the work. [If you are even vaguely familiar with physics, there is a difference between work and effort, and the terms should never be synonyms.]

His paean to himself, “Dreams of My Father,” shows this time and again…

Well, Mr. President, as several of your senior staff have already indicated, and many many of the pundits on the Left as well, Campaign 2012 has already started for you. But, You are now, presently, for the next four years, the President of the United States. It requires work.

His first 13 days in Office shows a lot of effort [misdirected as such appears to be]…but accomplishments? He’s still in campaign mode, to our overall detriment.

coldwarrior on February 1, 2009 at 1:08 PM

“…if the housing projects fell apart after he worked to bring the problem to public notice, so what?”

Make that “…after he expended effort to bring the problem…”

coldwarrior on February 1, 2009 at 1:12 PM

you know cold warrior what gives me shivers is that we could survive obama in the presidency, but the only other place for him to go would be SCOTUS till he’s ninety.

eaglewingz08 on February 1, 2009 at 1:23 PM

They made their bed, they lie in it.

‘Nuff said.

Ryan Gandy on February 1, 2009 at 1:52 PM

I’m more convinced that ever that Barack Obama is simply a puppet. This IS the Clinton Restoration, but Rahm and others realized early on that Hillary could not win a general election so they needed to find someone more appealing.

rockmom on February 1, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Karl Rove said it best this morning on Fox:

“It’s easier to campaign than to govern”

Welcome to the real world, Messiah!

gmoonster on February 1, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Just in general conversation with rabid BDS folks on various other chat boards, they’re completely uncaring about this, lol – in fact, the only reason to bring this up, apparently, is bitterness over Obama’s win. They have zero problems with this, even having whined incessantly about Bush and this kind of action for the last few/several years. Laughable.

Midas on February 1, 2009 at 2:55 PM

There’s no double standard here. Liberals were never opposed to torture or rendition as a matter of principle. Liberals were only ever opposed to Bush. Now that Obama has adopted some similar policies, liberals will support them because they’re Obama’s policies, not Bush’s.

What’s the old saying about the person without principles never being a hypocrite?

JohnJ on February 1, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Did Andrew Sullivan hava nervous break down, or is the old adage, Denial aint just a River in Egypt proven again?

Mr. Joe on February 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Where’s 60 Minutes?! Aren’t they annoyed by this? Where is Bob Simon or Scott Pelly?

jencab on February 1, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Are you crazy? They’re scarfing down snacks at Obama’s Super Bowl party.

BuckeyeSam on February 1, 2009 at 3:37 PM

…the other options were Guantanamo Bay, release, or two caps in the back of the head

I like the last one best.

BacaDog on February 1, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Death to Media Hacks

I see ..under Obama it will still be OK to kidnap and detain without charges….. gotcha. Sounds like that would be acceptable to those on the left who voted for this man.
/sarc

Jamson64 on February 1, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Yeah, I’m amazed… the leftist sites are all FOR this (with only a few against it) and can’t understand why the “ODS deranged” conservatives think this is bad when they supported rendition to begin with. Besides, Human Rights Watch (run by a Democratic Think Tank) says it’s OK.

And I’m like… what happened to “shredding the constitution”?! What happened to “war crimes”?! What happened to civil rights?! And so far all the liberals eyes have just glazed over and they keep repeating “Landru… Landru…”

Skywise on February 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090201/ap_on_go_pr_wh/war_on_terror

WASHINGTON – The “War on Terror” is losing the war of words. The catchphrase burned into the American lexicon hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is fading away, slowly if not deliberately being replaced by a new administration bent on repairing the U.S. image among Muslim nations.

So much fluff from this administration. Dangerous fluff but fluff none the less.

Jamson64 on February 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I’m pretty dissapointed.

DeathToMediaHacks on February 1, 2009 at 9:21 AM

Sucks to be you, huh?

bloviator on February 1, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Ain’t irony grand?

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Selective outrage.

hawkdriver on February 1, 2009 at 11:35 AM

They’re never around when their side is hypocritical, or in trouble, or when they’re needed for read human rights’ infringements, or to support abused women, children, terrorist-abused homosexuals, etc.

They’re only here for 3 reasons”

1. to propagandize their great One
2. to propagate their causes
3. to annoy you

Entelechy on February 1, 2009 at 5:11 PM

S/b “real human rights’…”

Entelechy on February 1, 2009 at 5:12 PM

So much fluff from this administration. Dangerous fluff but fluff none the less.

Jamson64 on February 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Since taking office less than two weeks ago, President Barack Obama has talked broadly of the “enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism.” Another time it was an “ongoing struggle.”

Hmm. Surely he realizes that jihad translates to struggle. Is he saying we’re conducting a jihad?

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Disturb the Universe on February 1, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Only behind closed doors.

Jamson64 on February 1, 2009 at 5:57 PM

No Rendition!

Just BUSTA CAP.

My favorite rap.

profitsbeard on February 1, 2009 at 7:20 PM

Here is what really worries me personally.

1. obama is fond of using bush originated policies all the while denouncing them (he is the ultimate hypocryte)

2. But obama says trust me i would never violate the constitution but yet..

here on anotehr site we find plans for
Nazi like “Emergency concentraton camps”

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87757

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced to the House of Representatives a new bill, H.R. 645, calling for the secretary of homeland security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations.

This is ABSOLUTLY SCARY INDEEED

I warned you liberal morons about a pelozi / democrat re-education CAMP

But all you liberals screamed (No only bush does that evil)

Well then please explain how come A Democrat is trying to tell homeland security to LOCK UP US CITIZENS..

Without trial
Without a laywer
Without Hope

Hmm wasnt that EXACTLY what all the liberals SCREAMED about their terrorists friends being locked up

Seems like obama and pelozi / reid are going too
Let ALL the Islamic nazis out of jail
and lock up all of you who dare to resist the messiah,,

America
Prepare for WAR

jcila on February 1, 2009 at 10:30 PM

It’s Obama’s Amerika – we just live in it.

BHO Jonestown on February 2, 2009 at 12:30 AM

Moe Lane can accuse those people of supporting torture when they back Obama’s decision. Voting for someone doesn’t mean you support everything they do.

Mark Jaquith on February 2, 2009 at 12:47 AM

So….capturing a foreign combatant on the battlefield and keeping him at Gitmo is a bad thing – but abducting suspects off the streets and secretly flying them to foreign countries for interrogation and torture is good.

Mr Purple on February 2, 2009 at 7:22 AM

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced to the House of Representatives a new bill, H.R. 645, calling for the secretary of homeland security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations.

This is ABSOLUTLY SCARY INDEEED

I warned you liberal morons about a pelozi / democrat re-education CAMP

But all you liberals screamed (No only bush does that evil)

Well then please explain how come A Democrat is trying to tell homeland security to LOCK UP US CITIZENS..

Without trial
Without a laywer
Without Hope

Hmm wasnt that EXACTLY what all the liberals SCREAMED about their terrorists friends being locked up

Seems like obama and pelozi / reid are going too
Let ALL the Islamic nazis out of jail
and lock up all of you who dare to resist the messiah,,

America
Prepare for WAR

jcila on February 1, 2009 at 10:30 PM

Agree that is one scary HR.

No media commentary on it either.

Mr Purple on February 2, 2009 at 7:24 AM

Critics complained that the CIA essentially “outsourced” its torture to subcontractors in this rendition process, ensuring that these methods would get used without getting their own hands dirty and getting the information torture produced.

Just like Obomba he lets other countries do the dirty work while he looks down his nose at them as low lifes.

Herb on February 2, 2009 at 10:14 AM

When a lefty does it, it is right and true. When Bush did it, it was illegitimate and evil.

James on February 2, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Change we can believe in deceive with

burt on February 2, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Liberals are abject cowards

Bevan on February 2, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Like i stated this morning

Americas leaders are so deluded they actually
BELIEVE the Outright LIES they are spouting to the american people..

but what is amazing is the average liberal has NO knowledge of this and other obama misdeeds no

they still believe that everything was fine (we had money in the budjet thanks to bill clinton)

And we were all in heaven until
President bush was illegally elected ..

All of this is bush fault..

Never mind
the islamic terrorists who believed we woudlnt fight back (thanks to clinton) spinless acts
never mind that the so called golden clinton years were fin anced by the First president bush tax increases..
Not any genius by bill clinton who was to busy chasing down interns instead of defending our former great nation..
Never mind that the democrats FORCED ALL the banks to loan money at 0 percent to EVERy and ANY illegal or poor person who was even breathing..

and then when the whole thing EXPLODED and burned the entire worlds economy to a cinder..

why its all bushs fault..

Sheesh every bad thing that happened so far can be directly traced back to the liberal democrats..

but no..
bush even started global warming..

Morons..

jcila on February 2, 2009 at 3:06 PM

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