Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bush contra McCain: Torture, executive power, and a resolution for 2006

On December 16, 2005, I reported that President Bush had finally agreed to Senator McCain's legislative ban on torture. It was yet another flip-flop from this most flip-flopping of presidencies, but I called this one "hypocrisy in the right direction".

However, in that same post, which you can find here, I also said this: "The White House probably did see the writing on the wall and obviously needed to do something to align itself with public and Congressional opinion (not to mention humanity). And, on the surface, this looks good. I've long been a supporter of McCain on this issue. As I put it yesterday, 'there ought to be a firm and absolute ban against [torture]'. This White House flip-flop -- and McCain's victory over his opponents throughout the Republican Party -- moves America closer to such a ban. But don't yet take Bush at his word. He and his pro-torture cronies, led by Cheney, are likely looking for whatever loophole they can find." (emphasis added)

Well, it didn't take long for Bush, Cheney, and the rest of this reprehensible crew to find their loophole -- or, actually, to make one for themselves.

Here, via Marty Lederman at Balkinization, is what Bush is interpreting the McCain Amendment:

The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.

And here, via Lederman, is what it really means: "Translation: I reserve the constitutional right to waterboard when it will 'assist' in protecting the American people from terrorist attacks."

My translation: We have tortured, are torturing, and will continue to torture for as long as we please according to our unchecked interpretation of executive power and application thereof according to our similarly unbalanced understanding of national security and international affairs.

Happy New Year, my friends. These old acquaintances of ours haven't been forgotten, and they're back to their old tricks, leading America in the wrong direction. Some things never change.

And some things are still disgusting.


Make all the resolutions you want, but our main resolution should be this: To stand up for what we believe in -- which is, I would venture to suggest, a fair and equitable economic policy that helps those who can't help themselves and that emphasizes both individual and governmental responsibility; a sober, flexible foreign policy that balances diplomacy and military might and that fully appreciates America's place in an increasingly interconnected global community; a commitment to the environment; a fundamental appreciation of civil rights and individual liberty; and in general a liberalism that offers hope and opportunity for all Americans, including an emphasis on education and health care -- and, needless to say, to do what we need to do to take back America from these enablers of torture and their supporters in the corrupt party of Tom DeLay and Bill Frist.

Shall we make this resolution together?

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  • Pathetic and not surprising. Oy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:44 PM  

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