Friday, September 22, 2006


Sticking to my theme of the past week or so I'm going to discuss McCain-Warner-Graham again, but this time to note that the agreement they've reached with the Administration seems almost a total win for the rebellious senators. Now, because I'm taking that only from news reports that have been published so far, I could be way off base here ... and I'm also assuming (as I should never do) that the president will actually honor an agreement that has been made and not foul it up with a signing statement or something typical like that. But, at first glance, this seems alright.

While the White House is spinning this positively (saying they got what they wanted even if it was by taking the "scenic route"), it's clear from all accounts that the Administration backed down in nearly every area. As the Washington Post reports today, "the two sides agreed on a list of specified crimes that could provoke prosecution of CIA interrogators and others," which will be amended to the War Crimes Act. The White House "yielded in its demand to adopt, with congressional approval, a restricted definition of its obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions."

The New York Times adds that "the senators won agreement that suspects would be allowed to see any evidence the jury sees, which the senators say is in keeping with 200 years of American judicial tradition. But the agreement includes procedures that would strip the evidence of the most sensitive details that lawmakers have worried could be used to plan more attacks." Makes sense to me.

Of course the House now may decide to hold this up if the leadership thinks it's not sufficiently palatable to the White House, but chances are they'll follow orders. While I'd like to have seen a few more legal protections, I think that McCain, Warner and Graham deserve some major credit for wringing water out of a stone here, standing firm and getting the job done.


At 3:00 PM, Blogger Lanky_Bastard said...

Publius at Legal Fiction sees it differently.

I think it's all BS. There is a genuine need for legislation on the prosecution of enemy combatants. The is not a genuine need for new legislation on torture. The two were tied together for the purpose of loosening torture restrictions, and it appears to be working.

At 7:05 PM, Blogger Carol Gee said...

Jeremy, I tried to "plow through" the Publius post but got lost. Could you help here, please? It will really be interesting to see which of you is right. Being an optimist I want to come down on your side, but you know about (signing statements, or not acting in good faith, or obfuscating, or crossed fingers behind the back) with this bunch. I look forward to more of your very helpful posts on the subject. Thanks!


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