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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

POWs: McCain vs. Cheney

Monday's Washington Post website has an interesting AP story about some Defense Department legislation proposed by Republican Senators.

John McCain (previously identified as my favorite Republican member of Congress), John Warner and up to 10 other GOP Senators are supporting various amendments to a policy bill that would try to reign in the dubious treatment of various prisoners in the "war on terror."

McCain's proposed amendments regulate DoD most tightly:
"What we're trying to do here is make sure there are clear and exact standards set for interrogation of prisoners," McCain said on the Senate floor...

One of McCain's amendments would make interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual _ and any future versions of it _ the standard for treatment of all detainees in the Defense Department's custody. The United States also would have to register all detainees in Defense Department facilities with the Red Cross to ensure all are accounted for...

Another McCain amendment would expressly prohibit cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody no matter where they are held.
In short, the Arizona Senators amendments would try to preclude future Abu Ghraib, ghost prisoner and Gitmo horror stories.

To me, this is the most troubling part of the news report:
The administration said in a statement last week that President Bush's advisers would recommend a veto of the overall bill if amendments were added that restricted the president's ability to conduct the war on terrorism and protect Americans.

"They don't think congressional involvement is necessary," McCain said in an interview.
Unsurprisingly, Dick Cheney has met twice with GOP Senators trying to convince them to stop what they are doing.

Let's hope McCain and his colleagues hold on. There are plenty of like-minded Democrats to assure that this passes the Senate.

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