Thursday, October 06, 2005
John McCain Anti-Torture Amendment
Finally, somebody has taken action to try to stop the U.S. Military from being the world's foremost advocate and practitioner of torture. John McCain, who was tortured while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, authored an amendment to a military appropriations bill. It is the mildest, most conservative language possible. McCain didn't try to define torture or impose any new standards. He cited the U.S. Army Field Manual on detention and interrogation, which was revised in April 2005 to specifically prohibit the abuses that were highlighted at Abu Graib. The amendment would give those rules the authority of federal law. Most importantly, it is a statement of intent by the Senate. It remains to be seen whether the House of Representatives will join the Senate in making this statement to the world. The White House has indicated that Bush might veto the appropriations bill if the anti-torture language is attached to it. That's not something that happens a lot, a military appropriations bill being vetoed. It's a strong statement by Bush that he favors the use of torture, and it is an indication that even if the law is passed it would not be vigorously enforced. Nevertheless, this amendment is a light in the darkness and it lifted my spirits briefly this morning. God bless John McCain.