Sen. John McCain proposed an amendment to the military appropriations bill that would prohibit “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment of prisoners in the custody of the U.S. military.
This may strike you as a “goes without saying” proposition — the amendment passed the Senate 90 to nine. The United States has been signing anti-torture treaties under Democrats and Republicans for at least 50 years. But the Bush administration actually managed to find some weasel words to create a loophole in this longstanding commitment to civilized behavior.
According to the Bushies, if the United States is holding a prisoner on foreign soil, our soldiers can still subject him or her to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment — the very forms of torture used by the soldiers who were later prosecuted for their conduct at Abu Ghraib. Does this make any sense, moral or common?
So deeply does President Bush feel our country, despite all its treaty commitments, has a right to torture that he has threatened to veto the bill if it passes. This would the first time in five years he has ever vetoed anything. Think about it: Five years of stupefying pork, ideological nonsense, dumb administrative ideas, fiscal idiocy, misbegotten energy programs — and the first thing the man vetoes is a bill to pay our soldiers because it carries an amendment saying, once again, that this country does not torture prisoners.