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Detainee Interrogation Compromise Roundup

Well, a compromise on the detainee interrogations is afoot, and bloggers are weighing in.

AJ Strata:

It seems that I was correct, all that talk about Bush capitulating to McCain and Graham and other lost Republican Senators was pure spin. Since Bush and Hayden are cheering the 'compromise' for clarifying what is legal actions in aggressive interrogations, defining the vague Geneva Convention McCain and Graham and Powell all said should never be clarified, I cannot help but conclude Bush won again.

Mary Katharine Ham:

We're discussing the War on Terror, the war in Iraq, and how best to protect American citizens through immigration laws and interrogation guidelines, and virtually the entire debate can be held without the Democrats showing up. Doesn't bode well the agenda of the would-be Democrat-controlled Congress.

Stop the ACLU:

Plus we need to remember that this is now the "worst case" bill because it still needs to go to Conference with the House. As such, we get one more chance to take a bite at the apple and bring it further to the right.

Greg Tinti:

Also, the deal would also allow the CIA to continue to run secret prisons overseas. Well, semi-secret now, I guess.

Dan Riehl:

If the CIA likes it, I like it. And when I say watch them scream, I don't mean the enemy combatants / terrorists, I couldn't care less about them. It's the Liberals screaming about the deal that's fun to watch.


It's amazing when you think about it, that a political ideology would seem so intent on bringing on its own demise by giving a dangerous and unprincipled enemy a free pass - but that's Liberalism, folks. No doubt their feeling tortured tonight by the compromise. Now all the Dems have to do is try to block it and they will solidify their image as soft on terror. And the netroots will torture them if they don't take a strong stand.

Poor Dems, they probably thought they'd be cruising toward control of both Houses righht about now. Instead they are wringing their hands wondering how to get elected without letting people know what they really believe. At least for today, political life is sweet for conservatives. But will it last?

Time will tell.

Allahpundit is not optimistic:

The more I read, the less I think this was some major victory for Bush...


The only unambiguously positive provision there is the first bolded part eliminating causes of action arising out of Geneva itself. I'm assuming that in addition to the vague nonsense about "serious and non-transitory harm," the statute's going to list some of the specific procedures that categorically do not constitute "grave" breaches of the War Crimes Act, e.g., belly slaps and so forth. If so, then the interrogators will be ok; they can stick to the defined procedures and be confident in the legality of their acts or, if they need to stray from the script with a recalcitrant detainee, they can fall back on the vague standards and conform their behavior as best they can. If there's no specific list of authorized procedures then they're in limbo. All they'll have is that "serious and non-transitory" standard to guide them.


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Comments (40)

Boy, the Republican'ts whit... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Boy, the Republican'ts whitewashing of the news is in high "spin cycle" today. The facts - Bush gave in.

(emphasis added)

WASHINGTON The Bush administration and Congressional Republicans reached agreement Thursday on legislation governing the treatment and interrogation of terror suspects after weeks of debate that divided Republicans heading into the midterm elections.

Under the deal, President George W. Bush dropped his demand that Congress redefine the nation's obligations under the Geneva Conventions, handing a victory to a group of Republicans, including Senator John McCain of Arizona, whose opposition had created a showdown over a fundamental aspect of the rules for battling terrorism.

Nice to see Bush came to his senses -- it's just too bad the entire country, and the world for that matter, had to see just how morally bankrupt the Washington conservatives really are.

Imagine that - advocating that we no longer stand behind the Geneva convention... what idiots.

Lee is so smart (stupid to ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Lee is so smart (stupid to the core), perhaps he can name one U.S. soldier that has ever been treated IAW the Geneva convention. As a fact neme one that was not tortured. The U.S. and the U.K. are the only two nations to comply with the rules of war and that is total BS. When you are facing Islamofascists sh** eating animals there should be no rules.
Give us a name and war. Let me warn you first, I served 22 years in the military and know several former POW's, including my brother (Korea) so get it right or slither back under your rock. Your source can't be a democrat, they lie so much you can't trust them to tell you the correct time of day.

The agreement says the ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

The agreement says the executive branch is responsible for upholding the nations' commitment to the Geneva Conventions, leaving it to the president to establish through executive rule any violations for the handling of terror suspects that fall short of a "grave breach." Significantly, Senate aides said, those rules would have to be published in the Federal Register.
The agreement provides several pages describing "grave breaches" that would not be allowed, starting with torture and including other forms of assault and mental stress. But it does not lay out specific interrogation techniques that would be prohibited.

In short, these vague terms of the McCain Amendment and GA3 remain vague. For example, playing Celine Dion over and over and over might consitutue torture and it might not. IMHO, Celine Dion would consitute torture, but that's just me.

The adjustment to the War Crimes Act, "will put the CIA on notice of what they can and can't do," said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who, along with Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, joined McCain in leading resistance to the White House approach. "It would take off the table things that are not within American values."

Mr. Graham, that is an outright falsehood. It does no such thing.

Asked about one of the most controversial interrogation techniques, a simulated drowning known as water-boarding, Graham said, "It is a technique that we need to let the world know we are no longer engaging in."

Milk and cookies for every detainee!

Good luck in '08, McCain. You're gonna need it...

NOT a victory.

Byran York over at NRO exam... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Byran York over at NRO examines the detainee deal

“We recognized that the president has the authority to interpret treaties,” says the source aligned with McCain/Graham/Warner, “but Congress now has the authority to define ‘grave breaches.’” In doing so, the negotiators enumerated nine offenses that everyone agreed constituted a grave breach of the treaty: torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, performing biological experiments, murder, mutilation or maiming, rape, causing serious bodily injury, and sexual assault or abuse, and taking hostages.

Fairly clear, save for " torture, cruel or inhuman treatment" which remain vague and highly subjective.

But what is clear is that, after defining grave breaches, Congress gave the administration significant leeway to define non-grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. “Grave breaches are crimes,” the source says. “Non-grave breaches are something else….We are going to spell out grave breaches, and then it is up to the administration to come up with sanctions for violations that are less than grave breaches.”

Whatever happens, the public will likely know about it. According to the proposed legislation, the president will define those non-grave breaches in a series of executive orders. Those orders would then be published in the Federal Register, meaning the policy would be public and subject to public scrutiny — and debate.

So cold rooms and Red Hot Chili Peppers could potentially viewed as "torture" or "inhumane". And like I said before, so could Celine Dion...

When you are facing Isla... (Below threshold)
Desi:

When you are facing Islamofascists sh** eating animals there should be no rules.

Pleasant.

according to OakLeaf at Pol... (Below threshold)
jp:

according to OakLeaf at Polipundit.com, who most of you know is military, this is a huge win for Bush

OakLeaf has the actual bill... (Below threshold)
jp:

OakLeaf has the actual bill linked....some one needs to fwd it to the right bloggers that have been mislead about this

After some more examination... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

After some more examination and reading, I'm going to revise my "NOT a victory" declaration and say that, yes, this is a victory for Bush. (Some of it to McCain, but the important issues were resolved in favor of the President.)

The old, knee-jerk liberal in me still rears its ugly head from time to time. lol

What would the founders thi... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

What would the founders think?

"The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home."
—James Madison

Does this bill legalize tor... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Does this bill legalize torture? If these actions were taken against you, would you call it torture?

How can you be confident that these actions won't be used against innocent people? Hasn't it already happened? Do you care about innocent people?

What did President Bush mea... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

What did President Bush mean when he said this in June 2003? Did he mean it? If not, why did he say it? If so, why doesn't he prohibit torture?

"Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control."

Publicus:[quoting]... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Publicus:

[quoting]

...forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control."

So keeping someone awake for a few days is severe mental pain and suffering? Listening to loud music?
I think we're thinking Saddam brand torture which usually involves the removal of body parts, acid, rape etc.

It's been repeated and repeated...just how do you extrct information from someone who doesn't want to give it to you?

Apparently the most favored ways are:

- an hour long massage
- conversion to Islam by the interrogator
- threats to threaten more threats
- bobbing for apples
- striking subject repeatedly in the thighs with a goose down pillow.

Did I miss anything?

Publicus,Do you ho... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Publicus,

Do you honestly believe stripping a terrorist naked, making him sit in a cold room and listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers ( i hope the song was "Give It Away") constitutes "severe mental" pain?

Again, what constitutes torture and cruel and inhumane treatment is highly subjective and vague.

Heralder:Yes. Deny... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Heralder:

Yes. Denying them milk and cookies until they eat all their vegetables.

Publicus,... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Publicus,

What would the founders think

I'd imagine they'd be disgusted at the liberals' lackluster displays in the defense of this country.

Heralder...Did ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Heralder...

Did I miss anything?

Apparantly. Seems like you didn't read my posting.

I'm not following how saying things that have nothing to do with my points...um, proves anything...

I also wasn't aware that the bill would limit the interrogators proceeding to listening to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Perhaps we all need to do a closer reading...

Heralder:On the ot... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Heralder:

On the other hand I think the founders would be disgusted at how freely the Republicans play with the Constitution; and how freely Republicans decide treaties aren't important for them to uphold; and how often Republicans think with black and white thinking; and how frequently Republicans think violence is the only answer; and how frequently republicans smear people like Max Clelland.

And tho they certainly were politicians I think they'd be disgusted at the hypocrisy on both sides and the need to call one another names like coward or traitor.

Publicus:Prior to ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Publicus:

Prior to the agreement reached by the three "dissident" Republicans and the White House, the proposed bill was so vague in its wording that, yes, there was potential for such tactics as playing the RHCP loudly in cold rooms (a tactic used on Zubayhda to cough up KSM...pardon the spelling).

Now that the "disssidents" (talk about using a word out of context) “...recognized that the president has the authority to interpret treaties..." and Congress is giving the White House (this one and beyond) to define non-grave breaches of the GC. The status of grave breaches is pretty clear (as i mentioned above), however, certain techniques such as "waterboarding" are apparrently still very unclear as to whether or not it constitutes a "grave breach". The President will have to clarify its use with an executive order.

And thank God no interrogator will be subejct to private right of action by a detainee...

its so funny to see modern ... (Below threshold)
jp:

its so funny to see modern liberals think they are defenders of the constitution and our founders.....they are the antithesis of classical liberalism

First off, it is hilarious ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

First off, it is hilarious to see Lee jump on this before he realized the details, and the fact that it is a huge win for Bush. His taking out of context that little snip shows how foolish he is; and how poor his reasoning skills are. Well, back to the desk job at DMV . . .

Publicus, this law does not apply to non-combatants, i.e. you and me. If we aren't picked up with weapons, explosives, al Quaeda materials and computer correspondence, we have no chance of being confused with the terrorists who we absolutely have to effectively interrogate. So it's quite a red herring you throw up there.

Our liberties don't exist in a vacuum. If we want to protect them, we have to protect ourselves from further attack.

I'm much more worried from my perspective of losing my the liberty of staying alive than I am any imagined loss of liberty you can conjure up in a state of having no perspective.

U.S. citizens have and should have more rights than the terrorists.

Do you war and torture fans... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Do you war and torture fans think that there should be ANY limitations? Should we try to make sure the people we are torturing (but not calling it that) are guilty of something? What limitations, if any, would you support?

Mitchell --Publ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mitchell --

Publicus, this law does not apply to non-combatants, i.e. you and me.

You're a smart guy. You know that some of the people rounded up WERE non-combatants. What about them? Shouldn't we at least try to identify who were combatants, and who were turned in to U.S. military personal for other reasons?

I guess I'm thinking about ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I guess I'm thinking about this like the death penalty. Those who favor it generally think it should only be used against GUILTY people. Would you like to make sure that we don't torture shopkeepers and other folks who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?

jp —I can't speak ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

jp —

I can't speak for "liberals" as a group, but I myself know the Constitution and the Declaration and the Federalist Papers very well.

President Bush said:<... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

President Bush said:

Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right.

If you want to settle for a clever verbal parlay, you can say that the terrorists aren't human. But you should at least make sure that the alleged terrorists are actually terrorists. No?

Hmmm...let's see...how many... (Below threshold)
Drew:

Hmmm...let's see...how many prisoners have been released from Gitmo? How many have been convicted upon their relese?...But they were all brought there because they were a threat. Anyone who supports "whatever it takes" is welcome to follow our President based on his string of proven successes..
Name me some convictions of "terrorists" based upon the "intelligence" gathered by "legal" methods.
A simple question...If you were charged and convicted based upon testimony that was given under "duress"...would you accept it?


Do you war and torture f... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Do you war and torture fans think that there should be ANY limitations?

There are obviously rules of engagement and rules of warfare, all of which the Islamofascists have demonstrated an unwavering willingness to ignore, yet we have largely abided by—sometimes to a fault (i.e. not bombing Taliban leaders at a funeral).

As for "torture" those have been largely defined except for "torture, cruel and inhumane treatment". (How many times do you I have to say that.)

...fans of torture and war... Who the hell is a "fan" of either—at least on this continent. This is just petty and stupid...

If you want to settle for a clever verbal parlay, you can say that the terrorists aren't human. But you should at least make sure that the alleged terrorists are actually terrorists. No?

Ummm, a HUGE majority people who have been detained–except for a scant few whom that claim to be "farmers" and "peasants" and who liberals love to point out to show how unjust we allegedly are being—or caught in field of battle. There is almost ZERO question that they are combatants. If they were honorable soliders they'd wear a goddamn uniform and fight like real soldiers instead of cowards...are they human? Yes, are they cowards? No question about it. And they act more inhumanly than any one in the West, particularly any one in the West.

Your attempt at being clever by quoting the PResident fails to account for what defines "torture" which is seemingly anything that liberals or those like you riddled with BDS just plain don't like...

That poor Canadian guy, Meh... (Below threshold)
Desi:

That poor Canadian guy, Meher Arar spent a year in a Syrian prison being tortured by Assad's thugs. He wasn't complaining about Anthony Kiedis' voice or being hit with a splash of cold water, as some of you on the right insinuate. He got the crap beaten out of him repeatedly for a year. How can anyone justify the system making a mistake like that?

P.S. Have a great weekend, ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

P.S. Have a great weekend, kids. I'm off to celebrate my 40th (ugh) in Vegas (yeah!).

What happens in Vegas stays... (Below threshold)
Desi:

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless your wife finds out, in which case you get to stay in Vegas...permanently. Hoist a few cold ones and don't think about politics for a few days.

How can anyone justify the ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

How can anyone justify the system making a mistake like that?
------------------------------------------------
How can anyone justify the liberal fantasy that allowed the terrorists to blow up 3000 Americans on 9/11 and would allow the terrorists to blow up innocent women and chidlren without any regard for their lives?

Publicus and fellow travele... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Publicus and fellow travelers,
Looks like you are intentionally misleading to cast the US in the worst possible light. The fact that Khalid a known terrorist that killed 300 people was given the worst treatment of "water-boarding" and this is a known terrorist! Why the intention of conflating this technique with real torture like cutting off hands/feet etc...?

So the question is why the liberals seem to care so little about the terrorists blowing up innocent women and children without any moral regard? Why intentionally makign moral equivalence between the terrorists and the US?

Desi:Amen to that,... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Desi:

Amen to that, my brother. No politics at the poker talent. Ever. And the my hot, younger wife is coming with, and that's good by me. ;-)

Help me out here, we're at ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Help me out here, we're at fault because of what the Syrians did? Come again?

There are plenty of limitations. For one thing, the President has to review each case, doesn't he? Let me know if I mis-read that.

Also, the law has a number of new safe guards.

What, prey tell, do the naysayers want instead? It won't protect me and my family, I guarantee you that.

OK. When is this "detainee"... (Below threshold)

OK. When is this "detainee" crap going to stop. These are prisoners. They tried to kill us and they were captured. They are in jail. Political correctness doesn't change that.

Mitchell, good poi... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mitchell,
good point. Not only that many "terrorist-suspects" whom the liberals care so much and fought so hard to release have been found to fight against our troops and to blow up innocent women/children in Afghanistan and Iraq. The liberals seem to be quite willing to tolerate such a mistake.

Apparently the most favo... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Apparently the most favored ways are:
- an hour long massage
- conversion to Islam by the interrogator
- threats to threaten more threats
- bobbing for apples
- striking subject repeatedly in the thighs with a goose down pillow.
Did I miss anything?

Several...the comfy chair, soft cushions, telly and cup of coffee for elevenses.

Wouldn't you just love to h... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Wouldn't you just love to have people like old "pucker puss" (lee lee) and "pubic hair"(pub-li-cus) protecting our country? Uh you better tell us what we want are we are going to withhold your crapper paper-or we are going to set your alarm 1 hour early if you don't-or we won't kiss you ass but 10 times aday if you don't. Gets results everytime. What the h#ll to we care what a bunch of whimpy ass bastards overseas think about us. If you are DEAD what does it matter what some asshole thinks . Get real you bunch of excuse making bootlickers. Whew!!!! Damn I feel much better now. ( Hell I know it ain't going to help but I still feel better-gotta go take out the garbage now-house garbage not the 2 mentioned whiners above-they have to be taken the haszardous waste dump).

We could threaten to sic th... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

We could threaten to sic the U.N. on them and have the U.N. write stern letters demanding they cooperate.

Or, better yet, get Hans Blix and Baradei to tell them that if they aren't helpful, they will be reported to the authorities, and then, a very stern report will be written, unless they cooperate.

Perhaps Mr. Clinton can wag his finger at them, too. That might be a grave breach of Common Article III, so maybe we should ask the lawyers and Lindsey Graham to weigh in.

Some of us (women, even) be... (Below threshold)
Peg C.:

Some of us (women, even) believe in hard-core torture and killing of terrorists. We are not going to beat an anything-goes enemy by pulling our punches, and moral handwringing won't make us any "better;" it'll just make us dead.




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