Sunday, February 19, 2006

Admin excuses & John McCain...

Whenever an administration official is asked about the abuse of prisoners while in American custody, the preferred talking point that is always brought forth is that there have been hundreds of court martial and investigations. Each time an allegation is made, the talking point goes, it is investigated and hundreds of people have been punished.

I rather tend to believe that this talking point proves there is a major problem. Name me a conflict in recent American military history in which so many people have been accused of inhumanity to prisoners. The war in Iraq, and the global war on terror have seen a tremendous wave of such allegations. Why was not this surge of prisoner abuse the case in Desert Storm, Vietnam, N. Korea, WWII, and WWI?

One must conclude that the soldiers we send to guard the detainees in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are either guided to do these abuses, or not given the training and guidance to not abuse these detainees. In either case the administration bears responsibility. Saying that hundreds of these cases have been investigated and adjudicated hardly speaks well of the administration. In fact looking at this from a historical perspective, that talking point is damning of this administration.

Which brings me to the issue of how this has been handled by congress. The president recently signed the McCain amendment which banned the ill treatment of detainees under American control, but at that signing the president made clear that he only intended to obey the law as he saw fit. Using what he considers to be the power of the unitary executive the president declared while signing the McCain law :
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.
This signal from the president was noted by senator McCain and the co-sponsor of the amendment in question senator Warner, who jointly issued the following warning:
"We believe the President understands Congress's intent in passing by very large majorities legislation governing the treatment of detainees included in the 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations and Authorization bills. The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation. Our Committee intends through strict oversight to monitor the Administration's implementation of the new law."
Gee mr. Frik, why are you rehashing this ancient history you might be asking yourself right now. It seems pretty cut and dried... The president is probably going to use what he sees as his unitary executive privilege to continue torturing prisoners, senator McCain will vigorously perform his oversight role as spelled out by the constitution, and we will have a fight sometime down the road evidently. The reason that this scenario may no longer operative is because of this story :
Obviously using President Bush's direct mail list, the letter signed by McCain asks for $1,000 or $1,500 to support candidates agreeing with McCain on "key issues."
Admittedly, this may be me running with a conspiracy theory, but several questions need answering. How did senator McCain wind up with the mailing list of president Bush? Is this not a blatant conflict of interest. In this letter senator McCain asks the reader to help with "reining-in lobbyists" and "reducing the power of the special interests". Exactly how did you get this list senator, and will this have any affect on your stated goal of overseeing the administration with respect to the humane treatment of detainees. Can we be assured that the list being given to senator McCain was not in itself an effort to "lobby" McCain by the ultimate "special interest": the administration, who really does not want this confrontation with McCain. It is hard to imagine the senator appealing for aid from the infamous cult of Bush and then turning around and biting their beloved leader in return.

The stories detailing the administrations intent to break the law that you sponsored are are already out there senator.
THE United States is helping Morocco to build a new interrogation and detention facility for Al-Qaeda suspects near its capital, Rabat, according to western intelligence sources.

The construction of the new compound, run by the Direction de la Securite du Territoire (DST), the Moroccan secret police, adds to a substantial body of evidence that Morocco is one of America's principal partners in the secret "rendition" programme in which the CIA flies prisoners to third countries for interrogation.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups critical of the policy have compiled dossiers detailing the detention and apparent torture of radical Islamists at the DST's current headquarters, at Temara, near Rabat.
The American people are counting on you senator McCain. We only hope that you have not thrown away the principles that led you to take the stand against the administration in the first place, for a veritable forty pieces of silver.

He threw them away when he hugged up on Bush for the 2004 selection.

I wrote in McCain in back in 2000.
He plays his part well.
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