So...Conservatives have just hit us with a big "revelation" about idea of the extraordinary rendition program: apparently, since it was done during Clinton's administration, it is perfectly acceptable for Dubya to do it as well. For those of you in the dark about this whole "extraordinary rendition" thing, it's where foreign nationals are shipped from the USA to other countries for the purpose of torture and interrogation. This torture and interrogation is [allegedly] used to gather valuable information about terrorist plots, hidden agendas, conspiracies, etc.
First of all...duh! It's no secret that all of this nonsense has been going on under Clinton (although it probably went on under even more presidents, but I digress...) So, I won't even try to cover up for him. Even the freakishly surreal ACLU has noted this. But, as a writer points out in his post from Running Scared: Observations from a Former Republican:
"Let us assume that everything alleged here is true. Assume that Clinton directly ordered the CIA to conduct renditions and to send terror suspects to foreign nations to be tortured. Does this in some fashion make it acceptable for Bush to do so?... Bill Clinton was unfaithful to his wife and had relations with a young intern. Does this mean that if we suddenly found George W. Bush playing footsie with some Georgetown coed in a DC motel that it would be just fine?"
To put it another way: if Bill Clinton jumped off a bridge, would conservatives follow him?
My issue is simply this: extraordinary rendition is illegal and flat-out wrong. It was illegal and wrong when Clinton did it, and it's illegal and wrong whenever Bush does it. Just because Clinton or any other Democrat does something immoral doesn't make it okay for the Republicans to do the same thing...and vice versa. Come on, people! How many times do I have to tell you that "two wrongs don't make a right"?!
The only viable way for the "But Clinton did it" defense to work is if people start believing that there is no such thing as law, morality, or right and wrong. They'd have to believe that our country has no real and objective standards by which we govern ourselves. Essentially, we would have to think that there is nothing out there -- but self-justifying partisan power games -- that allow us to do whatever the hell we want. Scary thought...
The only thing that this nonsense proves to me is that Republicans are the true champions for post-modern moral relativism.