In a sharp rebuke to the White House, the Senate overwhelmingly agreed Wednesday to regulate the detention, interrogation and treatment of prisoners held by the American military.
The measure ignited a fierce debate among many Senate Republicans and the White House, which threatened to veto a $440 billion military spending bill if the detention amendment was tacked on, saying it would bind the president's hands in wartime. Nonetheless, the measure passed, 90 to 9, with 46 Republicans, including Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, joining 43 Democrats and one independent in favor.
More than two dozen retired senior military officers, including Colin L. Powell and John M. Shalikashvili, two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorsed the amendment, which would ban use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in United States government custody.
It would also require all American troops to use only interrogation techniques authorized in a new Army field manual. It would not cover techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The above is from Eric Schmitt's "Senate Moves to Protect Military Prisoners Despite Veto Threat" in this morning's New York Times.
It's a start. It's not far enough (the CIA exemption), but it's a start. As for Bully Boy's threat to veto, Congress should push him on it. The administration has used the "few bad apples" lie enough times that the public wants this clearly defined, what enlisted people are responsible for and what they aren't. It's going to be a tough sell for Bully Boy to justify vetoing such a measure. A veto could also cause people to question exactly what Bully Boy's position is re: torture. (For many, it's obvious what his position is. But for those still in denial, this could underscore the position.)
It'll be a hard sell to veto this and he'll have to expend a great deal of time and energy sending out his chat & chew troops. Put him on the defensive.
Marcia e-mails to note David Sirota's "Laugh or Cry? Those Who Emasculated Dems On Iraq Take New Party Leadership Role" (The Huffington Post):
The Washington Post reports that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), one of the most outspoken Democrats pushing the Iraq War, is now setting up a Political Action Committee (PAC) to help Democratic candidates "hone the party's message on defense-related matters." Hang on a sec...sorry, let me stop laughing uncontrollably...
Ok. Let's repeat that, just because its so eye-poppingly hilarious: the same congresswoman who, as a ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, helped emasculate the party's ability to speak credibly on the most pressing national security issue of our time is now setting up an organization to "help" Democrats "hone" their message on defense issues.
Think of the equivalent. Imagine Michael Dukakis or George McGovern setting up a PAC to teach Democrats how to run successful presidential election campaigns. Or how about Dan Rostenkowski setting up a PAC to teach Democrats about ethics?
The fact is, Harman's efforts will likely be nothing but another veiled attempt by the insulated Democratic "Strategic Class" in Washington to continue perpetuating the worst right-wing lies about progressives on foreign policy. You know the lies: progressives are unpatriotic because they opposed blindly invading Iraq on the basis of what we knew were clearly fabrications; because progressives advocate for a more multilateral, cooperative foreign policy, they are weak; And because progressives want our military to actually focus on the real enemies in the War on Terror (ie. Al Qaeda and the 9/11 bombers rather than Iraq and Saddam Hussein), they are not tough.
On Monday, the Times offered you a book report on James Yee's For God and Country. As Rod notes in his e-mail, if you want more than that, you can watch, listen or read Democracy Now! today:
Thursday, October 6:* Former Guantanamo chaplain James Yee joins us in our firehouse studio to talk about his new book "For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire." In addition to witnessing abuse of detainees at Guanatamo, Yee was falsely accused of espionage by the U.S. military and imprisoned for several months.
Remember Ruth's reminder, the Christmas Coup Players air today It airs eleven to noon EST, ten to eleven central and eight a.m. pacific.
New dates for the Un-Embed The Media Tour:
* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Sat, Oct 15
*TIME: 4 PM
New Yorker Hotel
34th St. and 8th Ave.New York, NY
For tickets and more information, visit: www.newlifeexpo.com
* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Sun, Oct 16
*TIME: 5 PM
2005 Annual Fall Party
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(mail) Dos Pueblos, 2565 Broadway, #173; New York, NY 10025
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