Thursday, January 05, 2006

McCain, Warner, Graham: No Bypassing Torture Ban

In a followup to yesterday's post about the president's decision that he can waive the law banning "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners whenever he feels like it, the amendment's main Senate sponsors issued statements in response. Alone among major papers, the Boston Globe covers the story, with another Charlie Savage piece today.

Senators John McCain and John Warner put out a joint statement Wednesday afternoon saying in part "We believe the president understands Congress's intent in passing, by very large majorities, legislation governing the treatment of detainees. The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation. Our committee intends through strict oversight to monitor the administration's implementation of the new law." A part of that is very important: part of the "negotiations" between Congress and the White House over the amendment's text dealt with providing a presidential waiver - Congress rejected that. Now this president is just unilaterally reasserting his right to circumvent the law.

Senator Lindsey Graham told the Globe he'd go even further than McCain and Warner did in their statement: "I do not believe that any political figure in the country has the ability to set aside any ... law of armed conflict that we have adopted or treaties that we have ratified. If we go down that road, it will cause great problems for our troops in future conflicts because [nothing] is to prevent other nations' leaders from doing the same." Nothing in there that I would disagree with.

I'm glad that these three senators have made such strong statements on this, and I hope they'll keep it up. I'm not going to let go of this story, and I hope other news outlets start picking up on it as well. This pattern of executive end-runs and disregard for the rule of law has simply got to stop.


At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am proud that there are people out there like you, acting as a watchdog for our Republic. Keep up the good work, we need more people (and Republicans) like you.
Steve Abott

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeremy, thanks for posting this story. I like the Boston Globe and Charles" reporting. I have linked your post on my web site and mentioned you by nmae if you are interested so as to hopefully pump up the story. It's very important this make mainstream news headlines.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Carol Gee said...

Jeremy, I will support your attention to this matter. Those three feisty guys "meant what they said, and said what they meant." Oversight will be done.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

One thing to keep in mind is that, by the administration's logic, the Uniform Code of Military Justice can not be enforced during wartime, since it has the same origins as the torture ban. Think any servicemember accused of something is going to use a "the UCMJ is an unconstitutional infringement on the executive's Article II powers" defense?

At 9:20 PM, Blogger pacatrue said...

As I am not a lawyer, I will refrain from analyzing the Administrations legal arguments, but I will say that I hope the President takes another huge political hit for this.

Oh, by the way, we still don't toture, of course. The President said so. He just wants the right to torture. Uh-huh.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger RealRepublican;circa1861 said...

Is anyone familiar (as I am not, but curious) with Hagels stance on this issue?

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush's signing statement is being widely discussed in law schools, at least. But I, too, wish the media would be more attentive to the Administration's dangerous attempt to redefine "inherent authority."

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can I find the text to the senators' complete statements?


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