Senate votes to restrict treatment of detainees


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rick_reno
October 6, 2005, 03:35 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9601116/

WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled Senate voted Wednesday to impose restrictions on the treatment of terrorism suspects, delivering a rare wartime rebuke to President Bush.

Defying the White House, senators voted 90-9 to approve an amendment that would prohibit the use of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

The amendment was added to a $440 billion military spending bill for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. John McCain, also requires all service members to follow procedures in the Army Field Manual when they detain and interrogate terrorism suspects.

Bush administration officials say the legislation would limit the president’s authority and flexibility in war.

But lawmakers from each party have said Congress must provide U.S. troops with clear standards for detaining, interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects in light of allegations of mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay and the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

“We demanded intelligence without ever clearly telling our troops what was permitted and what was forbidden. And when things went wrong, we blamed them and we punished them,” said McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“Our troops are not served by ambiguity. They are crying out for clarity, and Congress cannot shrink from this duty,” said McCain, R-Ariz.

The Senate was expected to vote on the overall spending bill by weeks’ end. The House-approved version of it does not include the detainee provisions. It is unclear how much support the measure has in the GOP-run House.

Leading Democrat backs McCain bill
Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, is supporting McCain’s legislation. Murtha could prove a powerful ally when House and Senate negotiators meet to reconcile differences in their bills.

The confrontation by members of the president’s own party shows how reluctant some lawmakers are to give him unchecked wartime power as the conflict in Iraq drags on and U.S. casualties mount.

It also comes as the president seeks to show strength after weeks in which his approval rating plummeted, with Americans questioning the direction of the war, the sluggish federal response to Hurricane Katrina and the upsurge in gas prices.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said he was concerned that McCain’s legislation could inadvertently endanger the lives of people who work in classified roles. He said he hoped to fix the potential problems during negotiations with the House.

“There are some changes that have to be made if we are going to be faithful to those people who live in the classified world,” Stevens said.

With limits on U.S. interrogation techniques, Stevens said there is a legitimate fear that “custody will go to the other nationalities involved in the team. And we’ll have no control.”

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bakert
October 6, 2005, 11:33 AM
I personally think there's a lot of more important issues that our lawmakers should be addressing rather than worrying about terrorist detainees. Gongress and the senate getting involved in this issue is a mistake. These people were not just picked up off the street. They were either suspected or proven terrorists. Humiliated? Yep. Tortured? Hell no, well maybe slapped around a bit but many of our troops go through more in training. Just one more thing to make the dirty job our troops have a bit harder and to make our polititicos look better. JMHO

DelayedReaction
October 6, 2005, 11:42 AM
I'm sorry, but I don't want our people to think they even have the option of torturing someone. If the situation requires immediate extraction of information, the President can still quite easily sign a executive order authorizing the use of it. But as a general rule, our troops need to know what they can and cannot do to gather information.

I also think it's important to remember that 'terrorism suspect' is a very loose definition that can be applied to a variety of things. Does it really sound far-fetched to think that an American citizen who has a 'stockpile' of weapons could be considered a 'person of interest' for domestic terrorism?

R.H. Lee
October 6, 2005, 11:43 AM
This is nothing more than McCain pandering to hardcore leftists to make himself more palatable to a wider constituency in '08 IMO.

Pilgrim
October 6, 2005, 04:26 PM
This is nothing more than McCain pandering to hardcore leftists to make himself more palatable to a wider constituency in '08 IMO.
I personally think there's a lot of more important issues that our lawmakers should be addressing rather than worrying about terrorist detainees.
I think, judging from the vote, the senators have been feeling the heat from their constituencies concerning this subject.

McCain understands torture on a personal basis. Any suggestion that our forces are practicing torture or mistreatment of prisoners I'm sure disturbs him deeply.

Pilgrim

Lobotomy Boy
October 6, 2005, 04:37 PM
If Bush gets his way and overturns posse comitatus, we gun owners could be the "terrorists" who are being tortured.

Standing Wolf
October 6, 2005, 05:47 PM
I personally think there's a lot of more important issues that our lawmakers should be addressing rather than worrying about terrorist detainees.

True, but on the oft-cited "other hand," whenever Congress busies itself with feel-good irrelevant topics, it's doing less damage to the nation.

seeker_two
October 7, 2005, 12:35 PM
:barf: ....Did we have to bring McCain back?... :barf:

At least this bill doesn't place limits on CIA operatives... :evil:

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