On torture, rendition, and leftist hypocrisy

The Huffington Post would rather wallow in Bush-hatred than cover the Obama presidency, and a new report on torture and rendition gives it the opportunity today. The report alleges that over fifty countries participated in a “global torture scheme” orchestrated by the Bush administration after 9/11.

A few points.

1. The report is published by the Open Society Foundations–George Soros’s outfit–hence skepticism is due.

2. Rendition is a truly bad policy, and some of these regimes are really awful. Cooperating with them or tacitly accepting the brutal methods they may use in interrogation is something we should try to avoid.

3. Offshoring our interrogation is made necessary by a domestic legal system that has not adjusted to the reality of the fight against terror, and a media/political environment that immediately demonizes anyone who suggests ways to fix it (such as civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz, who proposed a “torture warrant”).

4. Some of what the left considers torture has in fact been necessary to capture terrorists and prevent future terror attacks, Osama bin Laden being a prime example. There is, at bottom, a conflict between security and human rights, and those who deny that trade-off are, arguable, contributing to problem #3, above.

5. The Obama administration has not shut down rendition completely, and its practical response to qualms about interrogation and imprisonment has been to kill more terrorists rather than capturing them, despite the resulting loss of intelligence and what should be (but is not) the greater moral burden of inflicting death.