OT Cracks in the wall
- From: "Zootwoman" <zootwoman@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 27 Jul 2005 16:08:36 -0700
By delaying action on the legislation, possibly into September, Frist
put off potentially embarrassing defeats for President Bush. But his
failure to block the amendments outright - he needed 60 votes to cut
off debate under Senate rules but mustered only 50, to 48 against -
means the Senate will have another opportunity to vote on
military-detainee and base-closure issues later this year.
"These senators sent a message that until the Senate deals directly
with the issues of interrogation and detainee treatment, the DOD bill
will not get through the Senate," said Elisa Massimino, Washington
director of Human Rights First, a group advocating for stricter rules
for handling prisoners.
McCain had been working with Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South
Carolina and John Warner of Virginia, the chairman of the Armed
Services Committee, to respond to widely publicized cases of prisoner
abuse. They proposed to set specific standards for the treatment of
foreign detainees. Vice President Dick Cheney, in a meeting last
Thursday, urged the three to back off.
But on Monday, McCain, Graham and Warner submitted an amendment that
would have required that the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence
Interrogation cover prisoners in military custody.
The three, together with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also introduced
an amendment that would prohibit cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment
of prisoners and would require the United States to abide by the Geneva
Convention and other international agreements on the treatment of
The two amendments likely would have received substantial Democratic
support and had a strong chance of passing in the Republican-controlled
Last Thursday, in a statement of policy, the White House said: "The
administration strongly opposes such amendments, which would interfere
with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources
from the war to answer unnecessary or duplicative inquiry or by
restricting the president's ability to conduct the war effectively
under existing law."
In support of his amendment, McCain read from a July 22 letter signed
by 14 retired military officers, including Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, the
former commander of U.S. Central Command, and Rear Adm. John D. Hutson,
the Navy's judge advocate general from 1997 to 2000.
"The abuse of prisoners hurts America's cause in the war on terror,
endangers U.S. service members who might be captured by the enemy and
is anathema to the values Americans have held dear for generations,"
the letter stated.
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