Is this really a power we want to give our government? According to an article in today's Washington Post:
Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries, according to intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials.
The Pentagon and the CIA have asked the White House to decide on a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions, including for hundreds of people now in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts.
...The CIA has been scurrying since Sept. 11, 2001, to find secure locations abroad where it could detain and interrogate captives without risk of discovery, and without having to give them access to legal proceedings.
One approach used by the CIA has been to transfer captives it picks up abroad to third countries willing to hold them indefinitely and without public proceedings. The transfers, called "renditions," depend on arrangements between the United States and other countries...
"Renditions are the most effective way to hold people," said Rohan Gunaratna, author of "Inside al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror." "The threat of sending someone to one of these countries is very important. In Europe, the custodial interrogations have yielded almost nothing" because they do not use the threat of sending detainees to a country where they are likely to be tortured.
We are OK imprisoning "suspects" for life, without any announcement that we even have them, without counsel, without trial. We are OK because our government doesn't torture prisoners. It just turns them over to people who do. That seems to be the theory. This sounds like we are taking a page from the Soviet Union, which used to be considered the Bad Guys.
People who commit torture belong in prison. American officials who knowingly turn over prisoners to torturers belong in prison. But then, I've long thought that most of the Federal politicians belong in prison, so I guess this isn't anything new. Click here: Long-Term Plan Sought For Terror Suspects (washingtonpost.com)
Update: Some (seven, so far as I know- at least that seems to be a widely reported number) of the prisoners released from Guantanamo have in fact returned to the field and been either captured again or killed. There is a dilemna here for American, and other, policy makers, but I decline to believe that seven recidivists justifies turning prisoners over to foreign governments for torture, even if under international law they, as "unlawful combatants", have very few legal rights. If we are going to have our allies pull out the electric cattle prods- or perhaps more accurately, slip them in- we should stop any pretense to being moral leaders of the world and simply say we are doing this because we think we need to. Of course, that leaves us without any moral arguments against the Saddam Husseins of the world.