07 June 2007

State Sponsored Abduction & 'Rendition': Kidnapping as a Political Weapon (4)

In the inital post in this series [2] [3] I wrote: "kidnapping is not a legitimate tool of politics; it is a tool of terror. It is inexcusable and unjustifiable regardless of whether it is carried out by shadowy non-state actors or by governments as a matter of policy." As it turns out, the Bush Administration and at least fourteen of its European Allies are implicated in a coordinated policy of kidnapping and torture. See the stories here and here and here for details.

Why is this policy "wrong"? The answer is quite simple, it has bad, perhaps irreparable consequences. It undermines our ability to criticize this or that Palestinian faction, this or that Iraqi militia, the Iranian government, or whomever, when they engage in kidnapping or other terrorist acts. It generates resentment and suspicion and hostility among populations with whom we might hope to engage in more cooperative, constuctive, productive ways. It places our own civilians abroad as well as our military/diplomatic personnel at risk by inviting actions in kind. And, finally, there is no plausible case for thinking that it generates good, reliable "intelligence."

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