Friday, December 16, 2005

Bush Backs Down, While Stevens Causes Trouble

First the good news. The president, finally understanding the impossibility of maintaining his position on the McCain amendment, relented yesterday and accepted McCain's language banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of prisoners in US custody. This is an excellent - if not entirely unexpected - turn of events, and passage of the McCain legislation will go far to ensure that another Abu Ghraib scandal does not blot America's reputation in the future.

Now the bad news. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, probably most famous for threatening alternately to resign or die if the Senate passed an amendment removing funds for some pork-bridge construction projects in his state and refusing to swear in oil execs when they appeared before the Commerce Committee, has decided to attach language opening ANWR for exploration and drilling into the Defense Appropriations conference report. In an obnoxiously ironic twist, this is the same bill to which McCain's anti-torture language is attached.

You'll recall that the Senate passed ANWR language as part of its budget package, but centrist Republicans in the House blocked the provision from their chamber's version of the budget. Now Stevens is back with a vengeance, and will stick the ANWR-opening clause into the key Defense Appropriations legislation. A vote could come today or tomorrow on a Democrat-backed move to keep the provision out on (extremely sound) grounds that it does not belong in the bill.

This is the height of political sliminess. Ted Stevens ought to be ashamed of himself, and I'm sure he would be if his sense of shame wasn't of Grinchian proportions (pre-Christmas-morning-revelationary Grinchian proportions, I hasten to note).

Senators should not be put in the position of voting against a Defense Appropriations bill because it contains this language, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Pentagon's budget. As Senator McCain - a strong supporter of the military and an equally strong opponent of drilling - said, "I think it's disgraceful I have to be put in that position."

It is disgraceful, and I hope the Senate tells Mr. Stevens so in no uncertain terms.


At 9:22 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Sorry Bro, but your whole line of thinking is bullshit.

Abu Ghraib would've happened if we had immensely stiffer laws in place. Put untrained idiots in control of prisoners and these things'll happen. It was the trained interrogators, it was the untrained morons who brought this law about.

Charles Graner was breaking the law (and was convicted) and knew it.

This is a bad law and will only hamstring us in the future.
But hey, as a fellow RINO, I take your opinion into consideration.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Scott, thanks for your comment. In the future though, please refrain from the scatological language. This is a family blog. I don't believe that making our opposition to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment hamstrings us in the slightest, and I firmly support the adoption of McCain's amendment.


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