Eric Schmitt filed two reports for the New York Times this week in re the McCain/Warner torture amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill, which Mr. Bush has threatened to veto if said amendment is included. In the most recent report, dated 12.15, the House voted overwhelmingly on Rep. Murtha's resolution to instruct the Defense Appropriations Bill conferees to accept the Senate's anti-torture provisions. But the earlier report, dated 12.14, states that the Army has revised its field manual to, well, be a little more specific about what interrogators can do and what they can't do. The article claims that the list of proscribed and allowed techniques is 10 pages long. It looks an awful lot like a way of undercutting the McCain/Warner amendment, which, as you may remember, does not specifically outlaw torture, but calls for standard Army interrogation techniques (which presumably do, or rather did, outlaw torture) to become federal law, which the President would then be bound to enforce.
Now, having read the latter article, you may well be saying (as the New York Times probably wants you to say), "well, according to the article, the Army has a long and specific list of interrogation techniques, so it likely does prohibit torture, given all the controversy there's been over it lately." I sure do hope that's the case, but there are at least four additional factors to consider. One, Tha Bush Mobb, being made up of "big thinkers" and "reality creators," doesn't care about "controversy." Two, the list is classified, so we don't know that it prohibits torture for sure. Three, because the list is classified, we also don't know that there are in fact 9 pages of allowed techniques and one page of prohibited techniques. Four, the timing is, as it always is with Tha Bush Mobb, awfully suspicious. And Tha Bush Mobb doesn't deserve any benefit of the doubt. I can't help but feel that this isn't just "a stick in McCain's eye," but a stick in ours as well -- you already know Tha Bush Mobb wants to investigate you, and you already know they'd prefer not to fuss over distinctions like "citizen" and "non-citizen." So, yeah, I'm rubbing my own eye at this moment.
I don't think it would be too much to ask -- and when I say "I don't think it would be too much to ask" what I mean of course is "I demand" -- that our elected representatives look at this "classified" document and report back to their constituents about it, and not accept the whining excuse that "then our enemies will know what we're up to," as if foreign terrorists ever decide to just cancel their little outings based on what precise interrogation techniques the United States uses to ferret out their comrades. "Electrodes to the scrotum? Well, now I feel a little squeamish about bombing this club" is not a statement I suspect I will ever hear a terrorist utter.
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