Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bush Administration Squabble Over Detainee Policy

The NYTimes reports on Wednesday that an internal debate is raging within the Bush Administration "over whether a new set of Defense Department standards for handling terror suspects should adopt language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting 'cruel,' 'humiliating' and 'degrading' treatment, administration officials say."

According to the article, some top Pentagon and State Department officials, as well as top military lawyers, are in favor of including the provisions in the new standards, believing that "moving the military's detention policies closer to international law would prevent further abuses and build support overseas for the fight against Islamic extremists." However, some top Bush Administration officials, including some in the Pentagon as well as Vice President Cheney's top aides (including his brand-new chief of staff, David Addington) are dead-set against the proposed changes.

This shouldn't surprise anyone, but it's important to note that even many in the Pentagon have come to recognize the necessity of having a more coherent policy that mirrors American commitments under international law. It's certainly a step that should be taken. I strongly approve of the proposed change in military procedures, but I also continue to urge the passage of the legislation backed by Senator McCain (which would ban cruel and inhuman practices not just for prisoners in military custody but also those held by the CIA). That provision will come up this week during conference committee discussions.


At 8:07 AM, Blogger Phil S said...

Until Rumsfield is out of DoD, nothing will change; particularly as Cheney is not willing to change either.


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