Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged today that the U.S. mishandled the case of a Canadian engineer who was seized by U.S. officials and taken to Syria to be tortured.
“We do not think that this case was handled as it should have been. We do absolutely not wish to transfer anyone to any place in which they might be tortured.”
How’s that for an “oops”? Of course, the best way to actually “do better in the future” and make sure that no one is transferred to a place where they are tortured would be for the government to stop the practice of extraordinary rendition. Until there’s a change in policy, it looks like the Bush Administration is merely trying to avoid more embarrassing revelations of official ineptitude, and not actually trying to put an end to abuse.
In case you need a refresher on this case, Arar, a Canadian citizen born in Syria, was detained by U.S. officials in New York and then sent to Syria where, according to Canadian officials, he was tortured. Almost a year later, he was released from Syrian prison without charges. The Canadian government has apologized and agreed to pay him almost $10 million. The Bush administration has not apologized, and Arar’s name remains on watch lists that prevents him from entering the United States.