THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON TORTURE. ANY QUESTIONS?
AP is reporting on the battle brewing between the White House and Congressional Republicans over the issue of "tough CIA interrogations." According to the article, the Administration's plan "would narrow the U.S. legal interpretation of the standards for treatment, a move that would allow tough interrogations of terror suspects and shield U.S. personnel from being prosecuted for war crimes." Incredibly, John Warner (R-VA), along with other GOP Senators, is hammering out an alternative plan, after a number of former military officers and defense officials wrote to Warner urging him not to allow any modifications in the language of the Geneva Convention's Common Article 3. A sentence from the letter:
"If degradation, humiliation, physical and mental brutalization of prisoners is decriminalized or considered permissible under a restrictive interpretation of Common Article 3, we will forfeit all credible objections should such barbaric practices be inflicted upon American prisoners."I'd like to see the argument hinge more on the pure, moral outrage, not just on the "but it'll happen to our guys now" argument, but a start's a start. A few choice quotations from the article sum up the issue for me. First, the Administration arranged a conference call with members of the national press, allowing National Intelligence Director John Negroponte (pictured above) to flap his gums:
"If this draft legislation were passed in its present form, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency has told me that he did not believe that the (interrogation) program could go forward."Well that's straight out of the Administration's handbook: any amendments to the Bush plan, and we can't interrogate properly (read: we can't torture anyone). This is just a variation on the standard, "Do it our way or you'll all DIE!!!"
Then later on in the article the author mentions that:
The dispute echoed last year's showdown between Bush and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., over legislation banning cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees. The White House threatened to veto that proposal, contending the language would hamstring interrogators, but eventually bowed to overwhelming congressional support for McCain's measure.And there you have it. Bush threatened to veto. Bush contended that the language would hamstring interrogators. But he eventually bowed to overwhelming Congressional support.
Typical bully. He blusters and he swells his chest and he threatens. But when someone strong stands up to him and says "No," he slinks away like the abject coward he is.
The Administration's gonna lose this one. Which is a victory for everyone else.