Thursday, October 06, 2005

It's about time

Thank God. The Senate passed 90 to 9 the anti-torture bill brought up by John McCain last night. The bill seeks to either revert back to the U.S. Army field manual for interrogations or lead to strict instructions on what interrogators can and cannot do. The President, quixotically, argued it would limit his abilities in the war on terror.

Um, excuse me? Are you saying we have to be like them? That we have to torture and kill to get intelligence? That we have to be like everything we've ever fought against? Mr. President, just what in the hell is wrong with you?

We can get intelligence with many different methods. Torture, as the Russians, Germans and North Vietnamese learned, doesn't work. It's unreliable. People will say anything to stop the torture. They will admit to the most heinous crimes, or tell the torturers that they know where Zarqawi or bin Laden is hiding. And this is leading us on a wild-goose chase, because we haven't found a true top al-Qaeda figure in years.

Arguing that an anti-torture provision, a law to guarantee that our forces do not use torture to elicit information, will hinder our ability to fight a war, means that the war is not worth fighting. If America cannot fight with honor, if America cannot fight with humanity, then we should not fight. This bill is necessary to insure that policy cannot be pawned off on lowly infantry and guards. There is a good deal of evidence that this is policy, not soldiers off on a lark. If the President vetoes the bill, he will have exposed a dark side of his soul we should all fear, and then Congress should immediately override the veto. The Senate would, and I hope the House shows the same courage in standing up against this horrific practice.


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