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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Monday, September 18, 2006

White House backs down on torture/detainee bill

It sounds like the White House is going to make a first counter offer to the Senate on the torture/detainee bill.

AP: White House to revise terror proposal

Reuters: White House offers revised CIA interrogation plan

I think that in the end, everything will be negotiable from the White House side except retroactive immunity against the War Crimes Act of 1996. (longer post.)

Let's keep in mind the "ticking clock" against the Bush administration that Johnathan Turley spoke about on Olberman last Friday. (video of segment.)

Within the next week or so, Khalid Sheik Muhammed and the rest who were recently transferred to Guantanamo will get their first Red Cross visit in years, and once they officially report torture, that war crimes ball starts rolling.

So, no matter what arrangements are made in legislation going forward, the White House dealbreaker will always be the immunity issue. From their point of view, I think they will trade anything to avoid that legal jeopardy.

This White House has spoken of its legacy earlier and more often than any in recent memory, and I'm quite sure that they don't want to go down as the administration tried for war crimes.


  • This judicial report out of Ottawa that says the U.S. rendered an innocent man to Syria to be beaten, tortured, forced to admit to bullshit accusations about terrorism ties, and kept in a coffin-sized dungeon for 10 months may undercut whatever resistance the WH has left to having this fight in public. I know the rendition program is different than the detainee rights issue, but it's close enough to make Bush look very, very bad.

    The story about the rendered man is just horrbile btw. it makes my blood boil.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 10:08 PM  

  • Yeah, I saw the Arar story. It's absolutely horrible. I became acquainted with the Arar case when he was testifying before the EU council in March/April.

    I don't have a really good grip on this whole White House vs. McCain, Warner, Graham fight. I just can't seem to get the politics of it, so take what I'm about to say in that context.

    Although the Arar case is the ultimate proof of the rule on torture, I don't think it'll even factor into the debate. The media has been covering this story as a conflict between the parties completely separate from any external realities. They're not covering the issue, they're covering the debate.

    So, unless some high profile politician injects the Arar case into the coverage, I don't think it's going to factor in.

    It should. It's the greatest proven abuse yet to come to light, but in the way the coverage has gone, the actual men on the sharp end of the torturer's efforts are just a subtext.

    Perhaps that's the greatest tragedy of all this. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong.

    Happy Constitution Week.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:54 PM  

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