Let’s Have A Real Debate About Drone Strikes And Torture.

Over the past decade, our “war on terror” has led to two highly contentious policies. Extraordinary rendition (AKA torture) involving the US and 50 nations which acted in defiance of the Geneva Conventions’ ban on torture, and unmanned drone strikes (AKA assassination by remote control). These two policies were created and undertaken by the CIA and the US military without open debate.

It’s long past time for that debate to take place.

Today, Congress will have what promises to be a highly partisan circus of self-righteous statements by both parties during the confirmation hearing for the position of CIA Director. But it’s unlikely that we’ll learn anything from the hyperbolic statements of partisanship.

What we need is a series of non-partisan Congressional hearings and a public debate on both policies at the same time. After all, torture was authorized by the Bush administration and drone strikes by the Obama administration.

By addressing both policies simultaneously, we might see an honest debate without the usual posturing for the media that accompanies most Congressional hearings these days.

Admittedly, it’s unlikely that anything will actually be accomplished by such a debate other than focusing public attention on the issues. But at least voters would be informed and could make their opinions known to our elected representatives. Then, and only then, our elected officials might arrive at workable constraints that control these policies.

Better yet, they might prohibit the policies entirely. There simply must be better methods of pursuing terrorists and stopping them before they strike.

Torture and assassinations without due process have no place in modern society.