06 October 2005

"cruel, inhuman, degrading"

even the unbelievable cronyism of bill frist fails to defend the president on this one, though i don't know who's worse in that sentence construction. is it the white house, which seems to believe that torture should be completely unregulated, or frist, who doesn't really care about torture at all? (he killed this same amendment back in july when mccain and graham first offered it, because the white house pressured him to do so. now he's voting for it. meh.)

anyway, congratulations to ninety senators for having their heads on a little bit straight for once. having read the amendments when they were first offered, though, i'm not sure this is cause for jubilation:

1. the ranger manual is currently being revised and, to my understanding, will contain a (secret?) section regarding "enemy combatants." the following is from senate debate on 25 july:

"Mr. GRAHAM: [...]We are at a point where we can actually accomplish something that will be good for this country, good for the military, and help win this war on terror. Part of this war is about image.

Mr. SESSIONS. Will the Senator yield?

Mr. GRAHAM. Yes, I yield.

Mr. SESSIONS. It did say ``not authorized in the field manual.'' But the Senator from South Carolina interprets that to mean that the military could amend it at any point in time.

Mr. GRAHAM. Absolutely.

Mr. SESSIONS. I think that is more acceptable, but even then the policies in the field manual should reflect the executive branch, it seems to me, being able to use extraordinary events and extraordinary circumstances.

Mr. GRAHAM. And it will be. There will be a section that is specific for unlawful enemy combatants. That is not a traditional way to deal with them versus POWs."

2. the mccain-graham amendment, which is what passed yesterday, was basically a move to undercut carl levin's language, which would have both imposed tighter regulation on military interrogation and institutionalized investigative bodies re: torture, 9.11, etc.

all in all, though, a good day. i would LOVE to see public reaction to the white house vetoing this bill or otherwise trashing john mccain, the one senator who has actually been tortured.