Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Congress has voted to ban torture!

Maybe this can go a small step towards repairing our shattered image in the international community.
Congress on Wednesday moved to prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects, despite President Bush's threat to veto any measure that limits the agency's interrogation techniques.

The prohibition was contained in a bill authorizing intelligence activities for the current year, which the Senate approved on a 51-45 vote. It would restrict the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method that makes an interrogation subject feel he is drowning.

The House had approved the measure in December. Wednesday's Senate vote set up a confrontation with the White House, where Bush has promised to veto any bill that restricts CIA questioning.

Mmm. Bush says "We don't torture", and then promises to veto any bill that would actually make sure of that. Sounds consistent, doesn't it, Senator Feinstein?
Feinstein noted Bush's repeated declarations that the United States does not torture. "If he means what he says this is the bill to sign," she said.

Unless of course we do torture people, in which case Bush might have a reason for vetoing the bill:
In comments last week to the House Intelligence Committee, Hayden acknowledged for the first time publicly that the CIA has used waterboarding against three prisoners.

(As an aside--not only do we torture people, we outsource torturing people. The hand of the free market wields thumbscrews!)

But I especially loved this part from the article:
Hayden warned Congress that if the CIA were limited to military techniques, it would adhere to them without wavering, even if it meant failing to get urgent and crucial information. He contends the CIA has different interrogation needs than the military and requires more latitude.

"I guarantee you we will live within those confines of any statute of that nature. But you have to understand there would be no exceptions," he said.

That's really the entire point, CIA Director Hayden. We don't want to be torturing people. Unlike you "moral relativists", we don't believe that torturing people is okay if we think they might be bad. We think it's wrong. Period.

The New York Times article has a breakdown of the vote by party:
The House approved the bill in December by a vote of 222 to 199, mostly along party lines. Wednesday's vote in the Senate was also along party lines. All the "no" votes were cast by Republicans, except for those of Senators Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, and Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska. Five Republicans and Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, voted "yes."

I just wanted to toss that out there as a "fuck you" to all the people who use the word "Republicrat" and insist that there's no difference between the two parties.

Oh, and the straight-shooting maverick, John McCain? He voted to keep torturing people (because it worked so well on him, I guess):
Mr. McCain, a former prisoner of war, has consistently voiced opposition to waterboarding and other methods that critics say is a form torture. But the Republicans, confident of a White House veto, did not mount the challenge. Mr. McCain voted "no" on Wednesday afternoon.

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