Most of us knew that Saint McCain and Co. would sell the country down the river and now the MSM finally wakes up. A little too late, boys and girls. O'Reilly had Sen. Cornyn on last night and wanted to know if his favorite torture technique would still be in play: "waterboarding". Cornyn wouldn't tell him because then the terrorists would know our new and approved torture techniques. O'Reilly was a just a little disappointed, but nevertheless, still stoked. Addington, Cheney, Yoo and Gonzales have done as Bush says, "their duty," and incorporated torture into our American culture. How does it feel knowing we are the "land of the torturers?" Here's a copy of the pdf.
The bad news is that Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects. He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation. Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts. The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes.
If Fred Hiatt does believe that Bush's embrace of torture has caused enormous damage, his editorial should have ended like this: Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now. Too little, too late. Hiatt has been carrying water for Bush for six years, and only now does it dawn on him that he's joined the bad guys.
Marty Lederman has a great post that describes the bill: Senators Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory: U.S. to be First Nation to Authorize Violations of Geneva
The deal does next to nothing to stop the president from reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions. While the White House agreed to a list of “grave breaches” of the conventions that could be prosecuted as war crimes, it stipulated that the president could decide on his own what actions might be a lesser breach of the Geneva Conventions and what interrogation techniques he considered permissible. It’s not clear how much the public will ultimately learn about those decisions. They will be contained in an executive order that is supposed to be made public, but Mr. Hadley reiterated that specific interrogation techniques will remain secret.
mcjoan has it right. As the Times says:
The Democrats have largely stood silent and allowed the trio of Republicans to do the lifting. It’s time for them to either try to fix this bill or delay it until after the election. The American people expect their leaders to clean up this mess without endangering U.S. troops, eviscerating American standards of justice, or further harming the nation’s severely damaged reputation.
Balloon-Juice: They Got Rolled
The only upside to this ‘compromise’ is that I no longer have to listen to the catcalls of degenerate fools claiming my opposition to torture and rewriting/ignoring the Geneva Conventions is simply an attempt to achieve moral superiority. Apparently these hubristic louts think that opposition to acts that violate basic human decency somehow makes me ‘morally superior.’ I thought it made me ‘normal’ and ‘sane’ and, until the past few years, ‘American.’ Given the brazen cheerleading of the pro-torture crowd in the past few years, it appears I was wrong. Wanting a nation that does not officially condone and engage in wanton acts of violence and torture apparently does make me morally superior. That is a shame.
So tell me, my fellow Americans:
How does it feel knowing that your government will pass laws permitting the violation of the Geneva Conventions against torture?
How does it feel knowing the taxes you pay from money you earned are going towards the salary of legally sanctioned torturers?
How does it feel knowing that the only political party with an organization large enough to stand in opposition to the American fascists in charge of this country's legislature and executive were actually boasting that they were not going to get involved in one of the most important moral debates of our time?
And how does it feel to have George W. Bush, that paragon of moral probity, mental stability, and well-informed intelligence, granted the legal right to determine what is and isn't torture?