Robinson suggests that the prisons had to be kept secret because the people in the countries where they were located would have been outraged about their government conniving with the US on this matter. In other words, they were secret to protect those countries from the legitimate outrage of their own citizens, not from "terrorist reprisals."
And why weren't they being kept in the US in the first place? It's not like we have a shortage of maximum security lock ups. Ah, Robinson says, it's those pesky courts. They might decide that "an alternative set of procedures" -- i.e., torture -- was unacceptable.
Robinson also has an answer for those who point out that al-Qaeda and other groups of their ilk don't have to deal with judges who might make them treat their prisoners properly:
No, an American "detained" by al-Qaeda wouldn't enjoy a guarantee of due process. But we're not al-Qaeda. I thought that was the whole point.Robinson says all this very wittily -- I'm fast becoming a big fan of his work. But the best part of his opinion piece is a little nub of fact he slips in at the end:
Oh, one more thing the president didn't mention, for some reason: Those 14 most-wanted terrorists who were kept in the secret prisons? As far as we know, not a single one was captured in Iraq.Just another reminder that the Iraq War was never about dealing with terrorism. See my earlier post on this point, Follow the Money.