Friday, September 22, 2006

Republican Senators fold on torture

I don't know all the details, but it appears that the Republican holdouts on the torture issue, McCain, Graham, and Warner, have folded on Bush's proposals regarding detention, treatment, and trial of alleged terrorists.

The Post has a summary of the so-called compromise, but it's hard to see what Bush gave up.

Here are what look like the key points:

1. Bush gets an agreement to provide a specific definition of the acts defined as violating the Geneva Convention. This is something that human rights activists were opposing because it gives the interrogators the ability to go right up to the line, and tailor any techniques to evade the protections of the law. This is not possible under the Geneva Convention's prohibition of outrages against personal dignity.

2. Bush gets a total pass on any past violations of the Geneva Conventions.

3. Detainees don't get to see the evidence against them, although they may get to see redacted "summaries". As a trial lawyer for more than twenty-five years, I can tell you that summaries are no substitute for the actual evidence that is introduced against you.

4. There appears to be no protection for illegal detention. I can't tell what the compromise does to habeas corpus, but from what I can tell it seems to be out the window.

5. A senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said in an interview that Bush essentially got what he asked for in a different formulation that allows both sides to maintain that their concerns were addressed. "We kind of take the scenic route, but we get there," the official said.
This doesn't necessarily prove it, since the Administration is obviously interested in coming out looking like a winner, but given the vehemence of Bush's opposition earlier in the week it certainly suggests that they think they won.

And here's the kicker: Democrats sounded a cautious note about the Republican accord, calling attention to the past Republican division rather than taking a position on the compromise.

We have to fight this hard. Where is the outrage?

Call your Senators today!

1 Comments:

Anonymous GH said...

There is no objective justification for these changes to article three. The authoritative sources I've seen don't support "tough" tactics as an effective method of gaining information, and the administraction is once again using the "trust me" rationale for its demands; any thinking person would have to throw out their demands on that ground alone. The only basis I see for the entire proposal is that the neo-cons need to play the national defense/fear card for the upcoming elections, as usual. That's the ONLY justification. The price, our standing as a bastion of due process and human rights, is far too high to pay to, particularly if it includes more of same for another two years.

September 22, 2006 12:16 PM  

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