Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Anti-Torture Amendments Take Center Stage

In the Senate today, Senators McCain, Graham, Warner and others have offered their awaited amendments to the Defense Department appropriations bill. McCain's amendments would "ban the use of 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' against anyone in U.S. custody and require all U.S. troops to follow procedures in the Army Field Manual when they detain and interrogate suspects," according to the AP, while Graham's would "define 'enemy combatant' and put into law procedures for prosecuting detainees at Guantanamo Bay."

I missed the beginning part of the debate this morning since I didn't know the amendments were upcoming today, but from what I understand, Senator Stevens of Alaska spoke against the amendments, while McCain, Graham, Alexander, Kennedy and others voice support for the measures. The president has threatened to veto the appropriations bill if these provisions are included.

Votes on the three amendments could come tonight: Senator Frist has scheduled a string of roll calls beginning around 7:30 p.m. Eastern. If I get anything more concrete I'll certainly pass it on. Debate on the amendments will continue this afternoon once the Senate reconvenes at 2:15 Eastern. I'll try to keep an eye on things and post if events warrant.

These are important amendments - in fact, they're very important. If you don't know where your senators stand on them, please take a moment and call them up. If proponents can get veto-proof majorities on them, the chances of ultimate success increase greatly. For the safety of our troops as well as the reputation of our nation, we need these amendments to pass.


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