The Bush administration and three prominent Republican senators opposing its effort to codify broad standards for terror-detainee treatment gave signs of seeking compromise today, as both sides face intense political pressures over their positions.Apparently common sense is in short supply; at least, the Administration is counting on that:
“I think we can get there from here,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the three senators, all with deep military backgrounds, whose resistance has stymied the Bush administration. Seeming to weigh his words, Mr. Graham added: “I’m willing to compromise. I hope common sense will prevail.”
“I’m getting pounded at home by some people,” said Mr. Graham, a former active-duty Air Force lawyer whose state has a large population of active and retired military people. “The president wants to defend us,” the senator said people would tell him. “These guys are barbarians; why are you standing in the way?”This is all starting to look terribly familiar.
And Mr. McCain appears to have run a serious political risk. As a presumed Republican presidential candidate in 2008, he has worked diligently to minimize his differences with the Bush administration, and he has outspokenly defended its policy of remaining in Iraq for now. A break with Mr. Bush could carry a high political cost.
The senators have opposed anything that might erode observance of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which bans cruel treatment. The Bush administration has said that it merely seeks to clarify its injunctions, including those against “humiliating treatment” and “outrages on personal dignity.”I do appreciate the rather odd idea that torture can, in any sense, be labeled "progressive." I've been wandering through the archives, by the way. This issue has a reach far beyond CIA agents and mlitary personnel. For a history lesson, follow these links: "Torture is such an ugly word;" "Power Corrupts;" "Is it Safe?". Does, as Mr. Negroponte implies, torture even work? No. But let's not bring that up in this discussion, eh?
John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, insisted today that the administration was not seeking to undermine Common Article 3, but wanted simply “to find the clearest and most concise way to implement it under United States law.”
And of course, the Administration can always count on Senator Arlen "What Part of Spineless Quisling Don't You Understand?" Specter:
...the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said his staff members were meeting today with McCain’s staff and would meet on Monday with the staffs of Mr. Warner and Mr. Graham to seek a possible agreement with the administration.Torture on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, then?
“What I am looking for is a way to accommodate both interests,” Mr. Specter said on CBS, “and I believe that is possible.”
Politics is set to triumph once again, because it will be long after the November elections before the courts declare any "compromise" a joke under Hamdan. In the meantime, in the immortal words of Bette Davis: "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."