Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Last call to Democrats on legalizing torture

A few posts ago I advocated that Congressional Democrats adopt the "cool your jets" approach to the Bush/Republican demands for immediate legislation on detainee treatment, interrogation, and trial. To my bitter disappointment, but not to my surprise, they instead walked into the trap set for them.

Today the Washington Post editorial board has made the same call:

We have argued that the only remedy to the mess made by the Bush administration in holding hundreds of detainees without charge at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere since 2001 was congressional action. Yet rather than carefully weigh the issues, Congress has allowed itself to be stampeded into a vote on hastily written but far-reaching legal provisions, in a preelection climate in which dissenters risk being labeled as soft on terrorism. As we have said before, there is no need for Congress to act immediately.
Let's pray that they listen this time; it's the last chance to avoid moral abyss and political disaster.

This just in: Signs of spines? No, only in the House, where it won't matter. From the AP story:
though Democrats objected, majority Republicans were hoping to block them from offering amendments and the House was expected to approve the bill by day's end.

The House began debate as Senate leaders hunted behind closed doors for a bipartisan agreement to limit debate and quickly pass a measure that would mirror the House bill.
Atrios has a post about Durbin speaking up (coverage on C-SPAN2), but there are no news references to it. If true, it would seem to be incompatible with a "bipartisan agreement". Can it be that the leadership has finally decided to step out of the trap?

Update: 11:45 am 28 Sept - Apparently not. But the NY Times editorial board gives it one last remarkably strongly-worded effort. An editorial that might have made a difference two weeks ago.



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