Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Outsourcing Torture

Can we as a country espouse human rights on one hand and then on the other hand utilize a country’s abuse of human rights because it serves our national interest? Let me rephrase that, because obviously we can.

Now there is growing evidence that the United States has sent terror suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation, even as Uzbekistan's treatment of its own prisoners continues to earn it admonishments from around the world, including from the State Department.

Outsourcing torture to other countries is thought to give the US “plausible deniability”, although that argument only flies if terrorist are repatriated. It does not give us any moral deniability. I have no great problem in returning criminals to their country of origin if there is no overriding jurisdiction covering their crimes. American criminals know that if they expect to flee to Mexico to evade the US justice system that they should commit a capital crime such as murder so that they cannot be extradited. Since Mexico considers the death sentence a human rights violation they will not extradite anyone that may get that sentence. Criminals may then trust their fate in a corrupt Mexican judicial system where money may “grease” the way to an acquittal. I don’t consider that justice. I consider repatriation legitimate, but within limits. If criticizing the regime is a capital offense then extradition is not warranted. If killing innocent men, women, and children is a capital offense, extradite.

Nevertheless a crime against the United States should be dealt with by the United States. Sending those persons to countries that utilize torture so that we may gain intelligence gives us neither plausible deniability nor moral deniability. It is plain hypocrisy and does not go unnoticed by the rest of the world. We lose credibility and our protest against human rights violations by others ring hollow. If we as a nation believe “torture” is justified to save hundreds or maybe thousands against terror then we should say so and administer it ourselves. I put the word torture in quotes because what some consider mild abuse such as panties on the head or nude pyramids others consider torture. While some Americans may have no problem with interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, drugs, and maybe electroshock, they may have problems with beating, often with blunt weapons, asphyxiation with a gas mask, boiling of body parts, or plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Those are the techniques allegedly used by Uzbekistan. Can we actually say that these methods were not used on our prisoners? Shouldn’t we know or is our ignorance a collective bliss?

1 comment:

Chip Morgan said...

I came across your blog by accident....then was intrigued! Chip http://www.focusedinterview.com