Bush Says G.O.P. Rebels Are Putting Nation at Risk – New York Times (New York Times):
President Bush made an impassioned defense on Friday of his proposed rules for the interrogation and prosecution of terrorism suspects, warning that the nationâ€™s ability to defend itself would be undermined if rebellious Republicans in the Senate did not come around to his position.
Speaking at a late-morning news conference in the Rose Garden, Mr. Bush said he would have no choice but to end a C.I.A. program for the interrogation of high-level terrorism suspects if Congress passed an alternate set of rules supported by a group of Senate Republicans.
Those alternate rules were adopted Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee in defiance of Mr. Bush. Setting out what he suggested could be dire consequences if that bill became law, Mr. Bush said intelligence officers â€” he referred to them repeatedly as â€śprofessionalsâ€ť â€” would no longer be willing and able to conduct interrogations out of concern that the vague standard for acceptable techniques could leave them vulnerable to legal action.
â€śWere it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that Al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland,â€ť he said. â€śBut the practical matter is if our professionals donâ€™t have clear standards in the law, the program is not going to go forward.â€ť
The administration has said the Central Intelligence Agency has no â€śhigh valueâ€ť terrorism suspects in foreign detention centers, having transferred the last of them this month to military custody at GuantĂˇnamo Bay, Cuba. But officials said they considered the program crucial to efforts to foil attacks.
â€śThis enemy has struck us, and they want to strike us again,â€ť Mr. Bush said, â€śand weâ€™ll give our folks the tools necessary to protect the country. Itâ€™s a debate that, that really is going to define whether or not we can protect ourselves.â€ť
It was also a debate Mr. Bush had hoped to have this week exclusively with Democrats as he and his partyâ€™s leadership set out to draw unflattering distinctions between Republicans and Democrats on fighting terrorism for the fall elections.
Instead, Mr. Bush spent Friday in a second day of heavy debate, casting some of the most respected voices on military matters in his own party as hindering the fight against terrorism. As of late Friday there seemed to be no break in the impasse, even as White House officials worked behind the scenes to build new support in the Senate for the legislation the president wants.
So now it is some Republicans who are getting in Bush’s way of bypassing the Geneva Conventions to allow his administration to compel our troops and intelligence officers to torture people.
Bush is trying to convince people that Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is vague and fuzzy, that all he is trying to do is clarify it. For your information, take a look at that article:
Article 3 (Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, UNHRC)
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
“Vague” my fuzzy cat’s backside. Take another look at Section 1, parts (a), (c), and (d) and tell me that Bush and his backers aren’t trying to make an end-run around them to rationalize and legalize inhumane treatment and remove due process. Is it any wonder why old warhorses such as Senators McCain and Warner and our military’s legal eagles are digging in their heels? Bush may see them as rebels in his party, but it is he who is rebelling against customs, rules, and laws that keep our democracy healthy.
Why does this president hate America’s self-professed values of human rights, civil rights, due process, and constitutional checks and balances?
Oh, and some advice to the president, who firmly believes the Congress will stay in Republican hands after the election despite the crappy economy, the wars, the federal deficits and debt, and the degradation of individual civil rights and even civil political discourse: Don’t bet on it. Five years of a War President running amok with no Congressional oversight is five years too many. Get ready to be called to account for your actions.