Thursday, December 15, 2005

House Backs Torture Ban; Bush Defends Sleaze

In a nonbinding but important step forward, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly yesterday to instruct that chamber's Defense Appropriations bill conferees to accept without change the Senate-passed language of the McCain amendment, which will bar the use of "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" against any detainee held in American custody. The tally in the House was 308-122: 107 Republicans joined 200 Dems and Independent Bernie Sanders (VT) in supporting the measure; 121 Republicans and a single Democrat voted no.

This second veto-proof vote of support for the McCain language (the Senate's tally, you'll recall, wasa 90-9) is tremendously important. The Administration stands alone now in its opposition, and it is increasingly clear that even an ill-advised veto would ultimately be unsuccessful. While NSA Steve Hadley apparently continues to "chat" with McCain about the precise language, the senator has made clear that "he is opposed to any language that would undermine the intent of his provisions," according to the Washington Post.

The Defense Appropriations bill conferees seemed more confident yesterday that the McCain language would be included in their final report. John Murtha, a top House Democrat on the conference committee, said "It's going to be in there, period," and even Senator Ted Stevens (one of the Senate Nine) seemed resigned. He told reporters on Wednesday "that McCain 'wants it in there, and I think it will stay in there.'"

While Congress was acting to put a stop to the potential for nefarious treatment of prisoners, the president was, contrary to recent practice, over on "Fox News" commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation. Asked by interviewer Brit Hume to answer whether he thought Tom DeLay is innocent of money laundering and other charges, Bush replied "Yes, I do." He added that he hoped DeLay would be restored to his post as Majority Leader "because I like him, and plus, when he's over there we get our votes through the House."


Of course Tom DeLay is innocent until proven guilty. Innocent, that is, of the official charges filed against him. He is quite guilty, however, of tarnishing the reputation of the Republican Party, surrounding it and its members with an aura of sleaze which will not be easily dissipated. The culture of corruption that Tom DeLay's shenanigans (and others, he's certainly not the only one) have revealed must be ended if the GOP as now constructed is to remain a viable political entity. The Party must end its ridiculous and unwarranted embrace of Tom DeLay and his corruption-blackened reputation just as the Administration must end its positively obtuse opposition to the McCain amendment.

What would Theodore Roosevelt say if he could see his party today? I shudder at the thought. Those of us who stand for the renewal of honor and integrity to the Republican Party must continue to speak out against those who would allow its destruction to proceed apace. We will not stand for torture, and we will not stand for corruption.


At 4:17 PM, Blogger MichaelBains said...


Nicely put.

{shakin' head @ W}


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