Thursday, December 8, 2005

The problem with "policy" (re: torture)

I read statements to the effect that the "policy" of the U.S. is to not condone tourture. Superficially that sounds great, but what does it really mean?

Yes, superficially the term "policy" means that it's a rule that nobody is permitted to violate.

But, having a policy and following the policy and enforcing the policy are three separate beasts.

In general, a lot of so-called "policies" hang on what I call "Nod and Wink Enforcement", which means that people are told that the policy *must* be obeyed, but the "nod and wink" unspoken message usually that the "policy" should be treated simply as guidance, people should *never* let so-called "policy" get in the way of "The Mission", and that people should do their best not to get *caught* violating policy. And, if anybody gets caught, deny it.

Case in point this morning in the news with regards to so-called "extraordinary rendition", where it is our "policy" to hand a suspect over to a foreign government *only* if they "agree" not to torture them. Sure, that sounds like a great policy, but it offers no means of enforcing the "agreement". And, it's simply a nod and wink agreement that torture is okay as long as the U.S. doesn't verifiably *tell* the foreign country to do it.

My rhetorical question for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: Are we *really* doing all that we can to assure that no suspects are ever treated harshly? It's a rhetorical question because we all know that the answer is simply "No."

And I'd ask her whether the U.S. ever willfully allows suspects to be placed in situations where a person with common sense might reasonably expect that torture might occur. The answer should be a clear "Yes."

-- Jack Krupansky


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home