Tuesday, November 15, 2005

News: McCain's Torture Amendment

Newsweek National News | Torture's Terrible Toll

Senator John McCain has an excellent editorial in Newsweek in which he argues a no-tolerance policy on torture by U.S. personnel. That McCain himself was tortured in a POW camp during the Vietnam war makes this statement from his editorial all the more interesting:
Until about 1970, North Vietnam ignored its obligations not to mistreat the Americans they held prisoner, claiming that we were engaged in an unlawful war against them and thus not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. But when their abuses became widely known and incited unfavorable international attention, they substantially decreased their mistreatment of us. (emphasis mine)
Does McCain see a parallel here? Perhaps the Bush administration claiming that Guantanimo detainees have no rights under the Geneva Conventions has something to do with it. Or the explaining they had to do when "abuses became widely known". McCain is right: relaxing the rules regarding torture has started a slippery slope that ends with the United States being no better than those we fight in the name of 'freedom'.

McCain is currently in a battle with Bush over an amendment "that would ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody". Did I mention that McCain is a leading Republican in the U.S. Senate and that the majority of Senate Republicans (including the Senate Majority Leader) voted with him against Bush's wishes? I knew there was a reason I used to vote Republican. I guess that's one more thing that changed after 9/11.

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