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September 23, 2006

Comments

As usual, thank you.

It appears, and since the three amigos seems to think our reputation matters so much this is key, that they want to have their cake and eat it too. Claim to have protections, but not actually let them have actual bite.

Doesn't really pass the smell test. But, note the name of the Bush bill -- something about bringing terrorists to justice. Well, clearly, the point is proven. They are already terrorists, right?

Sandy Levinson also made a telling point over at TNR, maybe Dems aren't going out of their way to call Republicans the "party of torture" (a spin-off on "party of death") because they fear the public wouldn't care. Maybe, this legislation -- again "just for show" -- is meant to salve their consciences.

Actually trying these cases, allowing them to bring GC claims etc., might ruin it.

btw I retain my belief that stripping habeas is unconstitutional. The matter hasn't be forced, I assume, give statutory protection, but I don't see a "only citizens" exception. Also, this is no "suspension," which is temporary. Finally, due process still holds ... and that requires true judicial review.

I would have thought it would be a very powerful statement to SHOW that we treat people who AREN'T of our tribe the same way as those who ARE of our tribe.

That's a sign of strength. A sign of confidence. And a sign that we are most definitely not like them.

Guess I'm wrong.

A quick point on interrogation: nothing about habeas necessarily means that interrogation can't take place, although obviously some conditions may not be 'optimal' once the prisoner realizes that he has human rights of some kind. This isn't a meaningful issue in Guantanamo, though, because interrogation seems to be mostly over. I mean, there's no point in interrogating people who never knew anything important (both shepherds and Taliban privates would fall into this category) or even someone who knew something relevant in 2001, but is 5 years out of touch with operations.

"although obviously some conditions may not be 'optimal' once the prisoner realizes that he has human rights of some kind."

CC pretty much handled what came to my mind, that despair might help in interrogations.

Newsday:

Most Democrats remained silent about the deal Friday, though Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) called parts of deal "promising" and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) condemned it as "legal mumbo-jumbo" that allows torture.

"The key to this deal will be whether Congress exercises real oversight over the CIA interrogation program," said California Rep. Jane Harman, who as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has been briefed on how the CIA handles terrorism suspects.

Yet as Republican leaders in the Senate and House prepared to act quickly on the legislation next week, Democrats appear ready to go along, to rebut GOP charges that they are weak on national security.

AP chief congressional correspondent David Espo has more on the 'get tough' election strategy that will likely lead to the latest Democratic rollover:

Six weeks before elections, the Democratic strategy for the war on terror is one part attack
President Bush and one part agree with him. The goal is to court voters dissatisfied with the job the administration has done, yet avoid being tagged as soft on
Osama bin Laden.

"Democrats are united behind the need to work on a bipartisan basis to bring terrorists to justice, and to do it in a manner consistent with our laws, our values and our national security," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said a few hours after Bush and rebellious Republicans ended a week-long dispute and compromised on a plan for interrogating and trying terror suspects.

He didn't quite say so, but it seems likely the deal announced Thursday — and blessed by Sen. John McCain of Arizona as well as Bush — will draw significant Democratic support when it reaches the Senate floor.

[...]

Democrats, primed by poll-tested advice, are projecting strength this time, determined not to let Bush and the Republicans outflank them once again.

"Welcome the national security debate and engage in it," several top strategists advised in a recent memo. Another recommendation: "stress the seriousness of the threat and Democrats' determination to address it using statements such as: "We need stronger tools to monitor, hunt down and kill terrorists."

Third, Democrats were advised to accuse Bush of mismanaging the war in Iraq. Not coincidentally, they intend to hold a public forum on Monday and say former top-ranking military officers who served in Iraq will testify about mismanagement in the conflict.

Finally, the memo from Democracy Corps says "stress that Democrats offer a 'better way to fight terrorism.'" Example: call for the inspection of all cargo containers entering the country

No mention of detainee treatment or Geneva obligations in the gameplan, so I think it's safe to rule out any chance of a filibuster. The Dems appear wary of potentially alienating an electorate that it believes is more concerned with personal 'security' than the rights of 'terrorists'.

Yet according to a recent CBS/NY Times poll, "[m]ost Americans, 56 percent, say torture is never justified, while 35 percent say sometimes it is." An even larger percentage, 63%, believe the US should adhere to international agreements.

Unless the Dems grow a pair, give the electorate some moral credit, and tell the unvarnished truth about the 'compromise' bill, the Bush admin will be successful in its longstanding bid to 'define down' torture into something more palatable to mainstream sensibilities, thus enshrining torture in US law.

Unfortunately, seeing how they were utterly gamed this week by McCain, Warner, Graham and the White House, I really don't think that the Dems are up to the responsibility. As Dan Froomkin says, "the American public deserves to hear a full and open debate on this important moral issue. And if Congress won't host it, then it's up to the Fourth Estate to rise to the challenge." Froomkin also gives voice to a silent concern of mine:

Have the senators been assured that Vice President Cheney won't get Bush to attach a "signing statement" to this bill, asserting his inherent powers, as he did the last time he signed torture legislation?

Is Bush planning to once again use his patented signing statement sidestep?

To highlight the grotesque nature of this torture bull, imagine the typical Abu Gharib photos and then add the caption "Sen. McCain and Pres. Bush have made this legal."

If they are going to immunize torturers retroactively in order to ease the worry of the CIA, how about Lyndie England? Does she get out of jail now?

btw I retain my belief that stripping habeas is unconstitutional. The matter hasn't be forced, I assume, give statutory protection, but I don't see a "only citizens" exception. Also, this is no "suspension," which is temporary. Finally, due process still holds ... and that requires true judicial review.

Moreover, the constitution only allows suspension "in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion", neither of which apply.

I fully expect to see Lyndie England's face in political attack ads in the last few days before the election.

Democratic attack ads? No, baby. She'll be trotted out by swift-boating Democrat haters to warn the American people in select close races around the country that Democrats are planning to raise taxes. She might even put Katheline Harris over the top.

There will a hooded taxpayer in soft focus in the background being tasered and vivisected as she points out that blastocysts everywhere are in danger from government-loving, atheistic, baby-killing, terrorist-loving, mortal and dhimmitudinous homosexual enemies of America.

The scum at Redstate will feature her with an introduction that starts "While I understand Lyndie's behavior at Abu Ghraib, she is doing her time like a man. And, I must say she has a good point or two about our true enemies within, who as good as fire the weapons that kill our soldiers in Iraq."

(Parody? No. It's barely paraphrase.)

The Republican Party, in the year 2006, just won a midterm election with the cattle prod strategy.

2008 will look like Shi-ite versus Sunni in American streets.

Terror is very, very good for the Republican Party. What's not to like?

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