Friday, September 22, 2006

John McCain: I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise


Rick Moran at the still unironically named RightWingNutHouse states the case about those "Rebel" Republicans clearly:
The re-interpreting of Geneva Convention protocols against torture has drawn the most fire from McCain and his supporters. What the White House calls a “redefinition” many experts on international law say is an attempt to circumvent the Geneva articles while immunizing American personnel (especially the CIA) from any charges of war crimes. This is extremely shaky legal ground for the Administration and it has apparently not sat well with lawyers at the Pentagon:

. . . The Republicans certainly had ulterior political motives in bringing this legislation to the fore 6 weeks before a mid term election in order to highlight the Democratic party’s unfitness and irresponsibility on national security issues. But the fact remains that the heartfelt opposition to the President’s proposals by conservatives carries far more weight in this debate than anything the politically motivated Democrats could muster. McCain, Powell, and the rest have proven that they are not only good Americans. They have also proven that they are good Republicans as well. This despite the probability that their opposition to the President will not win Republicans any votes in November nor advance their personal ambitions with core Republican supporters.

And of course, being good Republicans is more important than being good Americans. And, as we have seen, it was truly all for show. Kevin Drum offers evidence:

TORTURE ROUNDUP....Some good points from around the blogosphere about the torture "compromise" spearheaded by John McCain:

  • TPM reader JO: True, torture has always gone on "in the shadows"....[but] when the bill becomes law, it will be America's official policy for professional CIA interrogators to use torture. And it will be perfectly legal. Period. We are not even remotely returning to the status quo.

  • TPM reader JC: Right now, CIA are the bad guys. As far as I know, military interrogators were not using "coercive techniques." However, if this bill passes, military interrogators will not only be ALLOWED to use them, they will be EXPECTED to use them. Which is one reason so many military people have come out against it.

  • Charles Pierce: The national Democratic Party is no longer worth the cement needed to sink it to the bottom of the sea. For an entire week, it allowed a debate on changing the soul of the country to be conducted intramurally between the Torture Porn and Useful Idiot wings of the Republican Party....It contributed nothing. On the question of whether or not the United States will reconfigure itself as a nation which tortures its purported enemies and then grants itself absolution through adjectives — "Aggressive interrogation techniques" — the Democratic Party had...no opinion.

  • Juliette Kayyem: Marty [Lederman] and others are commenting on the wiggle room left to the President in determining what methods would be prohibited but may not constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions....It is this concession to the President that is mindboggling in almost all respects because the hold-outs could have given the President the less than grave tactics without giving him the sole authority to determine what they were. I'm eating my words; Marty is right — McCain is a tragic figure now.


Meanwhile, Tom Malinowski from Human Rights Watch schools us on where we learned some of these harmless interrogation techniques at WaPo:
President Bush is urging Congress to let the CIA keep using "alternative" interrogation procedures -- which include, according to published accounts, forcing prisoners to stand for 40 hours, depriving them of sleep and use of the "cold cell," in which the prisoner is left naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees and doused with cold water.

. . . He might begin with Robert Conquest's classic work on Stalin, "The Great Terror." Conquest wrote: "When there was time, the basic [Soviet Secret police] method for obtaining confessions and breaking the accused man was the 'conveyor' -- continual interrogation by relays of police for hours and days on end. As with many phenomena of the Stalin period, it has the advantage that it could not easily be condemned by any simple principle. Clearly, it amounted to unfair pressure after a certain time and to actual physical torture later still, but when? . . . At any rate, after even twelve hours, it is extremely uncomfortable. After a day, it becomes very hard. And after two or three days, the victim is actually physically poisoned by fatigue. It was as painful as any torture."


Someone needs to read this on the Senate floor. Bastards.