Thursday, October 06, 2005

Senate Gives a Big F-You to the Pres

Yesterday, the Senate voted 90-9 to set guidelines for interrogating detainees in Iraq and elsewhere. This overwhelmingly bi-partisan vote sent a big ol' "F-You" to the president, who said he would veto any bill that set a limit on what kind of torture that the military can use. Apparently, Bush listens to the Rush Limbaugh show and agrees with Rush that what goes on at Abu Ghraib is actually "fun." Hopefully this might give Bush a kick in the ass to wake him up. His liaise fare attitude on torture is being rejected by even his own parties ardent war supporters.

Some people like Rush, worry about the reaction of the world to the release of additional pictures of the abuse that went on in Abu Ghraib. I am more concerned what the world will think about us when we have a president who refuses to commit to not using torture again.

Senate Supports Interrogation Limits
90-9 Vote on the Treatment of Detainees Is a Bipartisan Rebuff of the White House

By Charles Babington and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 6, 2005; Page A01

The Senate defied the White House yesterday and voted to set new limits on interrogating detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, underscoring Congress's growing concerns about reports of abuse of suspected terrorists and others in military custody.

Forty-six Republicans joined 43 Democrats and one independent in voting to define and limit interrogation techniques that U.S. troops may use against terrorism suspects, the latest sign that alarm over treatment of prisoners in the Middle East and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is widespread in both parties. The White House had fought to prevent the restrictions, with Vice President Cheney visiting key Republicans in July and a spokesman yesterday repeating President Bush's threat to veto the larger bill that the language is now attached to -- a $440 billion military spending measure.

Senate GOP leaders had managed to fend off the detainee language this summer, saying Congress should not constrain the executive branch's options. But last night, 89 senators sided with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who led the fight for the interrogation restrictions. McCain said military officers have implored Congress for guidelines, adding that he mourns "what we lose when by official policy or by official negligence we allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget . . . that which is our greatest strength: that we are different and better than our enemies."

The vote came hours after Senate Democratic leaders blasted Republicans for canceling a classified briefing on anti-terrorism matters by the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte. Senate Democrats also sent Bush a letter demanding more information about how he intends to succeed in Iraq.

The president, who defended his Iraq policies at a news conference Tuesday, plans to deliver "a significant speech on the war on terrorism" today, spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. He said Bush will "talk in unprecedented detail about the nature of the enemy we face" and "about our comprehensive strategy for defeating" that enemy.

The Senate's 90 to 9 vote suggested a new boldness among Republicans to challenge the White House on war policy. The amendment by McCain, one of Bush's most significant backers at the outset of the Iraq war, would establish uniform standards for the interrogation of people detained by U.S. military personnel, prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment while they are in U.S. custody.

McCain's allies included Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a former military lawyer, and Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.). They said new detainee standards are needed to clear up confusion among U.S. troops that may have led to the mistreatment alleged at the Navy's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and to the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

(Full Story)

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