Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The lessons of Maher Arar

By Michael J.W. Stickings

At least the Democrats get it. At least they want to put an end to the horrible practice of extraordinary rendition:

U.S. Democrats singled out the "gross violation" of Maher Arar's rights as they renewed a push Tuesday to ban U.S. officials from shipping people to third countries that engage in torture.

Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, supported by 44 other Democrats, reintroduced a bill to halt the practice of extraordinary rendition, saying the power swing on Capitol Hill has renewed hope it will pass.

"Outsourcing torture is a hideous and illegal practice that has no place in the policy tool kit of these United States," Mr. Markey said.

"Extraordinary rendition undermines our international standing because our own gross hypocrisy prevents us from advocating for improved human rights policies around the globe."

The bill would prohibit officials from transferring anyone to countries on a list of those that use torture, regardless of citizenship or where they are seized.

Rep. Markey, who is leading the fight to put an end to extraordinary rendition, deserves our admiration and our support. For those of us who still think America stands for something positive -- the warmongering and fearmongering policies of George W. Bush notwithstanding -- the practice is deeply un-American. If winning hearts and minds is the key to victory (and peace) in a world of terror, terror that threatens our very way of life, it must be eliminated.

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