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I was writing up the deal reached between the White House and Senators Graham, McCain, and Warner, but now it’s disappeared from my screen, and I must get ready for work. It looks like the Senators got a little bit, protected things that really the White House couldn’t attack (international treaties), and defined legal procedures that that Supreme Court already declared had to be defined. The White House got immunity, immunity, and more immunity (retroactive) for its torturers and for the people who allow the torturing. I notice, too, that the Senators were keen to disallow what might leave scars physical, but scars mental and emotional seem to be areas gray. The Senators didn’t do much, in other words, but save face. A travesty.

Unrelated, this morning when I opened the window, I saw a pair of gray catbirds.



I must be a tAP liberal. Ezra Klein and Charles Pierce say pretty much everything I was writing and thinking about this. Clearly, their computers didn’t blink on them.

I would comment, but I think whatever I say will have me placed on a terrorist watch list.

FYI, that bird’s not supposed to be hanging out in the comments.

I have no doubt that Bush feels that he is doing the right thing. But a Christian cannot let our values be flushed downt he toilet simply because the individual we are dealing with is now deemed “evil.” If our values mean anything it is precisely at that moment when they should shine.

Bobby Valentine

I will say this. In politics, it’s very often unclear which is the moral path to take. For all the hot-button issues, there are two sides to the story. In this case, though, there is only one moral course: stopping torture in its tracks. Too bad there aren’t more people in Congress willing to stand up to Bush.

Ahh, let the bird stay in the comments, I like it.

Two more links:

First, on the unlookedfor consequences of the American occupation of Iraq, the AP is reporting that torture there may be worse than under Hussein. VEEP Cheney is fond of saying that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein (go world), but so far, Iraq doesn’t seem to be.

Second, Jim Henley ominously points to a distressing consequence of this torture compromise—namely, the torturing won’t stop at the GWOT. Next, the WOD, then who knows where else?

First, Yglesias, who in the process of claiming the USA is a rogue state, asserts,

An America prepared to casually toss out the most fundamental principles of international humanitarian diplomacy -- along with basic human decency and the rule of law as side helpings -- is not a country others are going to want to cooperate with. It will constitute a threat to their own interests and values. Nor will it be a country blessed with a lot of accurate intelligence.

But really for today, another Henley again. With him I lament the loss of any sort of opposition for what it says about American values for criminal justice. I’m not so sold on the lost-once-for-all-time, but perhaps my cynicism is still tempered by a little hope for some principled action (I swear it’s draining fast, though). I’m curious what y’all think?

The thing that frustrates me about it is that once these sort of things get let out of the bottle they are so difficult to put back in. Even if a future president tries to roll back everything Bush did in this area, and is successful, any terrorist attack on US soil in the next twenty years will be laid at his feet for “going soft on them terrrists.” This issue is a demagogue’s goldmine.

It’s more than the external criticism; it’s also the likelihood that one who loves the kind of clandestine powers this bill gives will be more likely to rub his hands together in greedy scheming.

And the Congress, that joke of a deliberative body, not only abdicated its own oversight of the executive, but by stripping habeas, excused any ability for the courts to act.

I’ve been increasingly dismayed and angry about since yesterday—well, actually since last week when John “I Roll Over To Show the Vice President My Belly” McCain and Warner announced their compromise. Especially the stripping of habeas. And the torture is awful, too.

Since this was the last torture post…

Have you seen this about Jose Padilla’s treatment?

I would go insane after a week of that.

I know, me too. I can’t even imagine two years of it…