Monday, December 05, 2005

No Place To Run

It seems Condi Rice cannot escape those annoying questions about secret prisons -- even though she made it clear that the U.S. is tired of being lectured by our European underlings to practice what we preach.

It's true, as BBC News notes, that poor Condi is in a fairly perplexing quandary. How is she to answer questions about secret prisons that she still has not acknowledged, and will not acknowledge, even exist? At the same time, how can she truly reassure her country's European allies that the U.S. respects and abides international agreements on human rights (which all forbid secret prisons) if she cannot state categorically that they don't exist? And she can't -- because everyone would know she was lying, and that would strain U.S. relations with Europe even more. So, given that she cannot deny the prisons exist, but she also cannot acknowledge that the prisons exist, her only option is to insist that the U.S. respects its international obligations and does not violate its allies' sovereignty while saying sorry, we can't give you any proof that we're telling the truth.

Meanwhile, national security advisor Stephen Hadley, in a vain attempt to take the pressure off his former boss while not actually giving anyone any answers, is reduced to talking in circles:

Speaking on Sunday, President Bush's national security advisor Stephen Hadley said that if such operations were taking place "they're the kind of things that one cannot talk about."

Mr Hadley went on to say "...the information would help the enemy... it would put countries who are co-operating with us at risk," all the while refusing to confirm or deny the reports first published in the Washington Post.

Which of course begs the question -- because if there were no secret interrogation centers, where suspected terrorists are tortured, there would be no damning information for the enemy to use as ammunition against us. Countries that are cooperating with us would not be put at risk if the U.S. were not demanding of those countries that they cooperate with us in doing something that is immoral and a violation of international law.

Maybe then, too, the United States would be defending itself against the threat of terrorism in a rational and effective way, instead of giving our friends and our enemies another reason to "question America's moral authority."

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