Congress waterboards Bush's pro-torture policy
Good news from the cooler heads on Capitol Hill as the Washington Post reports:
On a 308 to 122 vote, members of the House supported specific language proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in the custody of the U.S. government. Though lopsided, the vote was largely symbolic and does not put the language into law....
The vote specifically instructed House negotiators to include McCain's language, word for word, in the fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill, a decision that is not binding but carries significant political weight...
With the Senate's 90 to 9 vote in support of McCain's language earlier this year, both houses have presented veto-proof tallies to a White House that has vowed to strike down any bill that would limit the president's authority to wage the war on terrorism.
So it's finally getting through then is it? Torture is bad - and that the rest of the civilised world looks askance at the barbarian empire and their presumptions:
The vote sends a clear signal to the Bush administration that both chambers of Congress support the anti-torture legislation and want the government to adopt guidelines that aim to prevent damage to the U.S. image abroad. The White House has been aggressively pushing to create exceptions for CIA operatives and to water down McCain's language to keep it from limiting interrogators' options. But it appears that the administration and House Republican leaders lost some leverage yesterday.
Battling the congress to keep torturing! It's just startling to the rest of humanity. It's the sort of debate we would expect in Haiti or Saudi Arabia or Malaysia. Terrorising the terrorists? McCain was tortured during the Vietnam war (by the Vietnamese) so perhaps that is why he is so staunch over this issue.