Could rendition program be considered torture?

By scheduling the shut down of Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay and CIA secret facilities in other countries, President Obama – almost by default – has chosen to expand the rendition program that involves turning captured terrorists over to their home countries for interrogation.

Morrissey at Hot Air has more.

Renditions created a huge global controversy primarily because the home countries of the terrorists torture for information.  Most of these terror suspects grabbed by the CIA come from countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and other emirates where the Geneva Convention only provides a veneer of respectability and not legal constraints of any kind.  Critics complained that the CIA essentially “outsourced” its torture to subcontractors in this rendition process, ensuring that these methods would get used without getting their own hands dirty and getting the information torture produced.

Ed provides linkage to a story in the LA Times.

… the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.

Well what else would you do with captured terrorists? We can’t take them to the United States, Gitmo or to CIA facilities offshore. Send them home!

The problem is terrorists are frequently really tortured when they get home. They tend end up dead. [see comments] The liberal left has been complaining about the rendition program during the Bush years. Back to Hot Air…

For the last seven years, the Left has screeched hysterically over the CIA practice of rendition, in which agents turn detainees over to authorities in their home country for interrogation.  Never mind that the practice started in the Clinton administration, and never mind that the other options were Guantanamo Bay, release, or two caps in the back of the head; they pilloried Bush over renditions as if he’d thought them up himself.  Hollywood even made a movie about how awful the process is, apparently matched in awfulness only by the film’s box office.

Exit question: Before terrorists could be assured that they would live – possibly to fight another day – when captured and held by the United States. Will the left step up and demand that Obama’s rendition program be stopped?

Exit question 2 (the thoughtful one): Will terrorists be more cooperative with the United States when captured to ensure that they will not be sent home? Will we get actionable intelligence quicker?

Posted in

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Erik Blazynski on February 1, 2009 at 6:45 am

    What evidence do you have that when returned to their home countries that they tend to end up dead? Last week  you posted that they were creating movies with video cameras. They make the movies right before they are killed?

    We need to act in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.  You may argue that our "enemies" are not acting in accordance however that argument just creates a circle of torture and hate. It's time to evolve folks.


  2. Steve McGough on February 1, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Erik rightly corrected me on "the end up dead" line. The main point of my post is that Obama will continue the rendition program and expand it, while I think Gitmo was a better – even more humane – solution for terrorists who are caught.

    That said, there have been charges that we are sending non-terrorists off to countries to get tortured. Although they may be sent back, there is no reason why the U.S. would want to send them elsewhere to get the crap beaten out of them. It serves no purpose at all.

  3. davis on February 1, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I am with Erik. And Steve, how do you know what President Obama is going to do? You are just guessing, and then make a conclusion based on the guess.

  4. Erik Blazynski on February 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

    The US is sending them to be tortured to get information? Who knows. It is a damn shame that we do things like this. I am not sure if you are are familiar with the case of Maher Arar.  He was captured in New York on a layover on his way home to Canada. He was taken and sent to Syria to be  tortured for close to a year before he was set free, and never charged with a single thing.  This is tragic and should never happen. We need to have laws against this that are retroactive and the people responsible should be charged and imprisoned.  Click here for a brief story of Maher Arar.

  5. Steve McGough on February 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool

    I'm familiar with the Arar story and it sucks. But what the heck do we do with actual terrorists we capture as they make plans to kill us? I'm not a fan of bringing them back to the states nor to some international court. They are not fighting for a country in uniform. It's a totally different situation than one country vs. another.

    Terrorists use the Geneva Conventions against us.

  6. Bill on February 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    The Geneva Conventions are the wrong paradigm since they apply to nations at war.  How does one apply that paradigm to stateless international terrorists whose ethos demands that they die for their cause?

  7. Dimsdale on February 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    So let me get this straight: we bring all the terrorists here to get fair trials under our Constitution, and subsequent "civilized" incarceration, except for the ones that might get a death sentence, because our country's laws are too barbaric?

    Application of the Geneva Conventions requires that both sides abide by the stipulations in the agreement, and sign to that effect.  None of that applies to the terrorist scum.

    Kill them all, and let God sort them out.  (of course, they think they are doing God's work…..)

  8. Erik Blazynski on February 1, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I think that our intelligence is pretty good. I have read several accounts that stated that we knew of the Sept 11 attacks and didn't act on our intelligence. I think acting on intelligence is a good first step.  If we are acting on intelligence then you need to have a mechanism to process the alleged terrorists. You can't simply detain or "kill" as dimsdale says everyone that you think is a terrorist.  The US was paying for intelligence which I am sure resulted in a whole lot of false accusations.

    Dimsdale – you are making a lot of assumptions, who said that they get a trial in our country? I don't want to pay for transportation.  We need a military court in the region and evidence should be presented. 

    "Kill them all and let god sort them out"  This is the sort of backwards thinking that we need to get away from.

    • davis on February 2, 2009 at 2:15 am

      We need a different approach from we are doing now, as Erik points out. We pretended that terrorism did not exit (or could not touch us) until 9/11. We then took a series of steps to deal with it, that did not make much of a dent in the terrorist population and determination to hurt whomever they pick on. Terrorism will not go away. The rest of the world has dealt with it for decades (Northern Ireland, Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, Srilanka and so on).  We need to find alternatives to what we are doing.

The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.