Sunday, April 22, 2007

Renditions- Understanding the complexity of the issues.

C-Span covered a great committee meeting on April 17th regarding Extraordinary Renditions with testimony from several members from the British Parliament, as well as officers of the E.U. Rep. William Delahunt (D), Chair of the Committee, engaged along with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) of California and others, in questioning Dr. Michael Scheuer, our former CIA head of the effort to get Osama Bin Laden under President Clinton. To educate yourself on the specifics on Renditions, this is must viewing. The exchange was brutally honest and all sides of the issue were articulated with an honesty not usually front and center in Washington. It is not so easy to find absolutes. It was one of the best Committee hearings I have heard on C-Span.

The Europeans find themselves wanting to advise us and raise our image in the world for their own good interests as much needs to be done by us and our allies and that would seem a good thing. However, what I learned is that nothing is that simple. It is much more complicated.

Watch the C-Span recording on the committee meeting and you won't be disappointed. But be prepared it is long but well worth it.

UPDATE: To access this hearing on Real Player search the C-Span archives dated for April 17, 2007 under the title of "House Hearing on Transatlantic Relations"

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Anonymous Steve Jones said...

Charles, I found your weblog while searching for a link to the 17 April Transatlantic Relations Committee hearing. I initially thought I'd just shuffle through it looking for the money quotes which I heard about today, but on your recommendation, watched the whole four hours. Boy, I'm glad I did. "Amazing TV", as Markey said.

Scheuer's quite the character, isn't he? As is Rohrabacher. Cranky and irascible as they both were, however, I appreciate their attitudes and positions. As I do quite a bit of the rest of the dramatis personae in this passion play.

As you declare, I'm a social liberal and fiscal conservative; a Goldwater conservative living in his home state. But last year about this time I quit the Republican Party in disgust at the actions of the radical anarchists, neo-conservatives and dominionists who took over the GOP while I stood aside in slack-jawed astonishment.

Looking at your mini-poll, I cannot make up my mind between John McCain and Barack Obama. For many reasons, I opposed our invasion of Iraq, but agreed with McCain when he called for a more robust occupation force. I also agreed with his sharp criticisms of Rumsfeld's DoD.

And now, as hard as it is, especially living with my more classically liberal wife, I find myself supporting the so-called Surge. Not because I think it will work - since GWB refuses to talk to Syria and Iran, or to work to get support from the UN or NATO or Europe (Old and New), or with anyone else for that matter, it will not work. General Petraeus, John McCain and many others say there is no military solution in Iraq. I agree. We need to be involved politically, diplomatically and economically.

But my fellow ex-Midlander (I was born and raised in Midland, Texas) is stuck in a bubble, thinking that if we just kill enough of "them", we will achieve "victory". He doesn't realize that we won the war in April 2003, but thoroughly botched the occupation. Some say we went in with no plan for the occupation. I disagree. We went in with too many plans, and they conflicted one with another. What a mess.

As I watched the hearings, I reflected on the play "A Man for All Seasons" by Robert Bolt. Thomas More, after being visited by the scoundrel Richard Rich (who threatened More with official approbation) had this encounter with his wife, daughter and son-in-law (Roper):

Wife: Arrest him!
More: For what?
Wife: He's dangerous!
Roper: For all we know he's a spy!
Daughter: Father, that man's bad!
More: There's no law against that!
Roper: There is, God's law!
More: Then let God arrest him!
Wife: While you talk he's gone!
More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down (and you're just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!


Steve Jones
Scottsdale, AZ

9:22 PM  

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