Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bush Accepts McCain's Ban on Torture

This is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON -President Bush reversed course on Thursday and accepted Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record)'s call for a law banning cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign suspects in the war on terror.

Bush said the agreement will "make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad."

"It's a done deal," said McCain, talking to reporters in a driving rain outside the White House after he met with the president.

Under the deal, CIA interrogators would be given the same legal rights as currently guaranteed members of the military who are accused of breaking interrogation guidelines. Those rules say the accused can defend themselves by arguing it was reasonable for them to believe they were obeying a legal order. The government also would provide counsel for accused interrogators.

"We've sent a message to the world that the United States is not like the terrorists," McCain said earlier as he sat next to Bush in the Oval Office. "We have no brief for them, but what we are is a nation that upholds values and standards of behavior and treatment of all people, no matter how evil or bad they are. And I think this will help us enormously in winning the war for the hearts and minds of people throughout the world in the war on terror."

Still holding out was Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He said he would hold up completion of one of the two bills that includes the ban unless he got White House assurances that the new rules would still allow "the same high level of effective intelligence gathering" as under current procedures.

But officials said the ban would remain intact in the other bill, the final defense spending measure.

Now I have a small question here. I know that Bush caved in to McCain's ban, considering the bipartisan support that McCain had in Congress. But I wonder how much of this bill will actually be implemented by the president, or will the White House ignore this ban on torture and then lie about torturing prisoners? What dirty tricks are the White House spin-meisters planning for circumventing this bill? I mean, you want a way to circumvent this bill? How about all those CIA prisoners being sent to Eastern European secret prisons? The questioning (and torture) could be performed by East European guards and interrogators, with the CIA men simply observing.

No comments: