September 21, 2006

Make Way for Torture

Back at my old job, in the course of doing research on the defense budget, I came across a few congressional staffers who mentioned that John McCain would often rail loudly and stridently for hours and hours against all the waste and fraud in the annual defense bills, but when it came time to do something about it, he'd usually just sit back and fold his hands. There were a few exceptions—his staff did do an exceptional job untangling the Boeing tanker scandal—but that was the basic pattern. Bloviate and do nothing. He's a real man of "principle," you see.

And now we find, via Marty Lederman, that McCain's latest "compromise" with the torture-happy Bush administration pretty much fits that pattern perfectly. The Senate's latest bill would eliminate habeas rights for detainees, and, crucially, allow the president to "interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions." U.S. courts wouldn't be able to step in if Bush's interpretation was, you know, totally and utterly wrong and illegal. The administration is confident that the "compromise" will let it keep running its interrogation program—which, from all accounts, violates the Geneva Conventions. The "dissident" Republicans in the Senate just gave the thumbs up to war crimes. How bold of them.

So... we can see where this is going. The real scandal is that some unshaven lefty on the streets somewhere might dub this whole thing "fascist." Such foul language. Tsk tsk.
-- Brad Plumer 7:37 PM || ||