"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, December 08, 2005
European foreign ministers said Thursday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had ``cleared the air'' by assuring NATO allies that the U.S. does not allow torture of terrorist suspects and respects principles of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war.
Shifting away from a confrontation with Washington, some NATO allies welcomed Rice's explanation of U.S. views on secret prisons and treatment of terrorist suspects at a private dinner Wednesday with her NATO and European Union counterparts.
``It is my impression that Secretary Rice ... cleared the air. You will not see this discussion continuing'' at the NATO headquarters, NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer told a news conference.
Rice ``addressed the principles that guide United States policy with regards to respect for international law,'' Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht said.
At a news conference, Rice said she can give no guarantee that terrorism detainees won't be abused again despite what she called the United States' clear rules against torture.
``Will there be abuses of policy? That's entirely possible,'' Rice told reporters. ``Just because you're a democracy it doesn't mean that you're perfect.''
She offered assurances, however, that any abuses would be investigated and violators punished. ``That is the only promise we can make,'' Rice said.
I suspect that Mr. De Hoop Scheffer is right - we will not see this discussion continuing.