>I don’t have much time to write tonight, but I do want to come out in support of John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The Senate has voted 90-9 to add their justice clause to a Pentagon spending bill, but the Bush administration has threatened to veto the bill if McCain’s addition is included.
I’m just going to copy and paste paragraphs from some online news articles:
The measure, sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, would require American troops to follow interrogation standards set in the Army Field Manual and bar “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of prisoners in U.S. custody.
U.S. troops interrogating terrorism suspects don’t know which techniques are permitted and Congress owes it to them to establish clear standards, Senate Republicans said Wednesday, opening a politically volatile debate over the treatment of detainees.
Arguing for his amendment, McCain, a former Navy pilot who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, said “our troops are not served by ambiguity.”
“We demanded intelligence without ever clearly telling our troops what was permitted and what was forbidden. And then, when things went wrong, we blamed them and we punished them. We have to do better than that,” he said.
The White House opposes legislation that would impose restrictions on the Pentagon’s detention, interrogation and prosecution of prisoners, arguing that it would tie the president’s hands in wartime.
The White House lobbied Congress heavily, with Vice-President Dick Cheney asking senators not to support the measure.
In a move likely to irritate the White House, Colin Powell, the retired former chairman of the joint chiefs and secretary of state during Mr Bush’s first administration, also offered support for the amendment.
McCain said an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division, Capt. Ian Fishback, urged his office to push for clear guidelines for the treatment of prisoners after unsuccessfully attempting to get answers from his superiors for 17 months.
In a letter to McCain, published last week in The Washington Post, Fishback stated that he and troops under his command witnessed “death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment” of prisoners in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
McCain said Wednesday that intelligence is needed to fight terrorism, but “the intelligence we collect must be reliable and acquired humanely, under clear standards understood by all our fighting men and women.” Torturing prisoners not only yields unreliable answers, but also endangers captured U.S. troops and allows “the cruel actions of a few to darken the reputation of our country in the eyes of millions,” he said.
“The enemy we fight has no respect for human life or human rights. They don’t deserve our sympathy,” he said. “But this isn’t about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies.”
LET YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES KNOW YOU SUPPORT McCAIN’S ADDITION TO THE LEGISLATION! (or at least know why you don’t support it.)
Find your Representatives: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Find your Senators: http://dir.yahoo.com/Government/U_S__Government/Legislative_Branch/Senate/Senators/By_State/
For some reason www.senate.gov isn’t working tonight.