Monday, October 24, 2005

Bush admits he's pro-torture

From tomorrow's New York Times:
Stepping up a confrontation with the Senate over the handling of detainees, the White House is insisting that the Central Intelligence Agency be exempted from a proposed ban on abusive treatment of suspected Qaeda militants and other terrorists.

The Senate defied a presidential veto threat nearly three weeks ago and approved, 90 to 9, an amendment to a $440 billion military spending bill that would ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of any detainee held by the United States government. This could bar some techniques that the C.I.A. has used in some interrogations overseas...

"They are explicitly saying, for the first time, that the intelligence community should have the ability to treat prisoners inhumanely," Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said. "You can't tell soldiers that inhumane treatment is always morally wrong if they see with their own eyes that C.I.A. personnel are allowed to engage in it."
An exception for members of the C.I.A.? Has Bush mentioned that before? Well, kind of. In this memo, in which he writes, first, that he doesn't have to follow the Geneva Convention if he doesn't want to, he then goes on to add:
Of course, our values as a Nation, values that we share with many nations in the world, call for us to treat detainees humanely, including those who are not legally entitled to such treatment. Our Nation has been and will continue to be a strong supporter of Geneva and its principles. As a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva. (Emphasis Nitpicker's)
Get that? Bush covers his ass by saying "the United States Armed Forces" and not, say, "all Americans serving in the Global War on Terror." Nice.

Too bad he showed his hand by wanting to make that exception overt.

Every journalist in today's White House Press Briefing should ask what rules members of the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies have been following up until now.

P.S. The WaPo makes it clear this is "Cheney's plan."

4 Comments:

Blogger Josh Rosenau said...

Ted Stevens has been pushing an amendment like that since the McCain amendment passed. He may sit on the conference committee, I can't remember now.

I blogged the Stevens amendment a while back.

Since Senator Roberts is one of 9 Senators who opposed the McCain amendment, he's likely to support the Stevens proposal, and Kansans have a special obligation to turn our senator around.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

And he's the head of the intelligence committee, which makes him an even worse offender if he won't reject this idea.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Jeff Huber said...

No. Cheney's behind it? Leaking torture now, is he?

7:12 AM  
Blogger elendil said...

If the bill exemption for the CIA goes through, will it still be possible for the American people to avoid culpability by pretending that they didn't know what was going on?

6:45 PM  

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