From today's installment of "No TLA Left Behind"

The only remaining obstacle in putting the torture ban into law is the White House. The Vice President has already threatened an administration veto on the torture ban unless the CIA receives an exemption. This is unacceptable. We need to act now and show the White House that torture is not an American value and should never be the policy of the United States.

Message-Id: <LYRIS-33556665-88386-2005.11.16-18.08.13–>
Democracy for America email, no linkable website for content

VICE PRESIDENT Cheney is aggressively pursuing an initiative that may be unprecedented for an elected official of the executive branch: He is proposing that Congress legally authorize human rights abuses by Americans. "Cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners is banned by an international treaty negotiated by the Reagan administration and ratified by the United States. The State Department annually issues a report criticizing other governments for violating it. Now Mr. Cheney is asking Congress to approve legal language that would allow the CIA to commit such abuses against foreign prisoners it is holding abroad. In other words, this vice president has become an open advocate of torture.

WASHINGTON – Vice President
Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow
CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session.

Now, I've been told that it doesn't matter if we make it illegal here, the CIA will do whatever it wants anyway. Apparently, it matters a lot to Dick Cheney. If so, it means that it must have some actual level of pull. I don't even begin to pretend it will stop torture entirely, but when you turn on the lights, the roaches scatter. Some of them find hiding places, but you can kill a few of them, and it calls attention to the roach problem, rather than letting it take over and multiply and pretend it doesn't exist.

I'll leave you with a quote from a person I'm beginning to respect more and more with each coming day.

I want to emphasize to some of my friends who say that we should do anything that is necessary to extract intelligence, No. 1, torture doesn't work; No. 2, if extraneous or extraordinary actions have to be taken–and there may be cases, and we will get into this in the next amendment, where someone has information that it is believed poses an immediate threat to the United States–then I would suppose that it would be entirely appropriate, under law, that the President of the United States could make that judgment and take whatever actions are necessary. In the meantime, the Army Field Manual authorizes interrogation techniques that are proven effective in extracting lifesaving information from the most hardened prisoners. It also recognizes that torture and cruel treatment are ineffective methods because they induce prisoners to say what their interrogators want to hear, even if it is not true.

It is consistent with our laws and, most importantly, our values. Our values are different from those of our enemies. When colleagues or others may come on this floor and say: Well, they do it, others do it, al-Qaida does it, other nations in the world do it, what differentiates us, the United States of America, from other countries is the fact that we do not. We do not abuse human rights. We do not do it. I would argue the pictures, terrible pictures from Abu Ghraib, harmed us–not only in the Arab world, which is an area of great concern but it also harmed us dramatically amongst friendly nations, the Europeans, many of our allies.

-Sen. McCain, July 25, 2005


[rant on]

Dear Senator Lieberman,

Go fuck yourself.

Due process is why our country is great. Removing the right of habeas corpus to people accused of a crime against our nation simply because they are an "enemy combatant" makes us no better than the very people we fight against. Seriously, what is this shit? I expected the republicans to vote yes, lockstep, in this. I was disappointed, though not surprised, to see McCain in the list of Yeas. But you? You're a fuckwad. I'll vote republican for the first time ever to any ticket I have the opportunity to vote on that contains you. No vice presidential stuff, no presidential primary, nothing. Why don't you go be the dictator of china or iran or something like that? Take your buttwipe republican buddies with you. We'll take the republicans who voted nay, and the ones who abstain. They're better Americans than you. In my opinion, we should hold anyone who voted Yea on this as an enemy combatant, because they're destroying our american principles from the inside. See how long it takes them to understand why it's important.

Thank you for showing respect to our veterans by showing what you truly stand for, and what they fought for – a land where our president is free to determine that anyone is an enemy, deprive them of the rights the veterans fought and died for, and make us look like shitheads to the world. I don't care what any individual nation thinks, but I think we should be held to a higher standard than any other nation out there. If they're all looking at us in disgust, then we're not holding ourselves to that standard.

I hope that this amendment is further amended before it becomes law. Making Guantamino's tribunals more accountable, I like that. But stripping these guys of their rights? Not cool at all.

[rant off]