Second Verse, Same as the First?
It seems like I've written this post before ... but once again, I must give credit to Senators McCain, Warner and Graham for standing up to the Administration on terror detainee policy. The three, joined yesterday by former SecState and CJCS Colin Powell, are pushing back against proposed legislation from the White House which would, they say, effectively gut the Geneva Conventions. Yesterday the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a bipartisan alternative to Bush's bill, while the House is expected to approve the White House legislation next week.
At issue are specific provisions regarding detainees' rights to see the evidence against them and about the meaning of the Geneva Convention's provisions as they apply to terror suspects.
The Financial Times reports that McCain has told aides he's prepared to go to the wall on this, "even if it ruins his chance of becoming president." After CIA direcctor Michael Hayden showed up on Capitol Hill trying to lure senators away from McCain's bill, the senator said "He's trying to protect his reputation at the risk of America's reputation." Meanwhile White House spokesman Tony Snow said Colin Powell was "confused" about the program, adding "They don't understand what we're trying to do here."
I think Powell, McCain, Warner and Graham understand exactly what it is the Administration's trying to do here, and they're doing precisely the right thing in putting the brakes on it. There is no reason to "reinterpret" (to put it nicely) the Geneva Conventions, and doing so only puts the reputation of America and the safety of American men and women in uniform at great risk. Keep up the good fight!