Monday, September 25, 2006


SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL.................PEACE.................Scott


JOSHUA HOLLAND, ALTERNET - This afternoon, the White House announced
that a tentative deal had been struck with the Senate GOP "rebels" --
McCain, Warner and Graham -- that will basically continue the status quo
on prisoner detentions and "coercive" interrogations. . . Another
measure passed the House that would essentially authorize the
administration's formerly illegal domestic surveillance program. Both
bills are headed for the Senate -- the detention compromise would then
need to go back to the House -- and both are likely to bite Democrats
hard on the ass come November no matter which way they vote.

The details of the deal remain somewhat murky. Bush is pleased, saying:
"this agreement preserves the single most potent tool we have in
protecting America and foiling terrorist attacks." McCain wouldn't say
exactly what the White House had conceded, but the AP reports that the
administration dropped its attempts to "redefine" Common Article Three
of the Geneva Conventions, which bars "humiliating treatment and
outrages upon personal dignity." McCain said only that "there is no
doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions
have been preserved."

The other sticking points were whether suspects would have access to
classified evidence against them in "civilian status review
commissions," and whether evidence gained through coercion -- including
through the use of techniques long considered to be torture by human
right groups --could be admitted. Graham said that there was a provision
that would allow suspects access to classified evidence -- and what
evidence won't be classified? -- if they are at risk of imprisonment or
death, but an administration spokesman said they were interpreting that
with a "high bar" and it wouldn't be automatic. Digby says a new JAG
office will be formed to review classified evidence. I didn't see any
mention about the use of evidence gained through "rough interrogation."

This is a compromise between two bad -- terribly bad and unnecessary --
bills. It was passed at gunpoint, with the administration threatening to
discontinue coercive interrogations if they didn't get their way and
nobody in the political class willing to call their bluff (remember,
more than half of those being held are thought to be innocent and
experts are pretty much in agreement that torture doesn't work anyway).
. .

Here's how the optics look to me:

McCain, the Republican rebel maverick, showed that Republicans are moral
and look out for their troops.

Bush, the Republican statesman and leader, showed that he is committed
to protecting Americans but that he is willing to listen and compromise
when people of good faith express reservations about tactics.

The Democrats showed they are ciphers who don't have the stones to even
say a word when the most important moral issue confronting the
government is being debated.

That about covers it. I need a drink.

No comments: