Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Italy, CIA renditions and U.S. arrogance

U.S. State Dept. legal advisor in Brussels, John Bellinger, today criticized European attitudes to the U.S.-led war on terror, stating that some statements could undermine U.S.-Europe cooperation. This was in response to proceedings in Italy regarding CIA renditions on Italy's soil of a Muslim cleric back in Feb. 2003.

Is it any surprise that now even Italy, one of our few coalition partners in the war in Iraq, has misgivings about U.S. rendition program? I think not. The Italian people were against their government's support of George Bush's war of choice in Iraq. And since there is little stomach for turning the government upside down in Italy, their judicial system is demonstrating its power over its executive branch by moving these charges forward. Don't be surprised when Italy does officially request to extradite CIA officials responsible for the renditions. And don't be surprised when this Administration fails to do so. I applaud the Italian courts for taking this matter up in spite of the embarrassment of its senior government officials.

Democracy works when various branches of a government exercise their function of checks and balances. Maybe we could learn something from the Italians on this matter. Unfortunately, our Judicial Branch may be complicit in supporting this Administration's flagrant violation of International law. The ultimate question for our branches of government is as follows: If our elected leaders deliberately violate laws and treaties and someone brought charges up at the World Court requesting they be on trial for their crimes, would we as a people and a government support this by turning them over to the Court for trial? It is a valid question, as we find the idea congruent with our belief when other countries leaders are believed to have violated laws and committed crimes against humanity. One could make the argument what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander. But I do not think we have matured as a people to accept world authority over any leader of this country. We think we are above the very laws and treaties we expect others to uphold. And if they don't we are willing to let the World Court decide the appropriate justice as we did in the case of Slobodan Milosevic. Now do you understand why the world says we are an arrogant people? Well, in my humble opinion, at least this current crop of leaders are.

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Blogger Doug said...

I agree. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. I think that's the Athens Conventions.

10:16 AM  

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