Of course we are talking about torture, and the bill Bush wants to veto is the intelligence bill that passed in the House yesterday, mostly across party lines:
The White House threatened to veto the measure this week in a lengthy statement, highlighting more than 11 areas of disagreement with the bill.
The administration particularly opposes restricting the CIA to interrogation methods approved by the military in 2006. That document prohibits forcing detainees to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner; placing hoods or sacks over detainees' heads or duct tape over their eyes; beating, shocking, or burning detainees; threatening them with military dogs; exposing them to extreme heat or cold; conducting mock executions; depriving them of food, water, or medical care; and waterboarding.
Two things come to mind when reading this. First - isn't all this already illegal? I mean if we outlaw this stuff, what is to say they don't come up with something new that is just a little outside these definitions? No your honor, I didn't kill a man. Instead I expedited his journey to meet his maker, which isn't against the law verbatim. Perhaps Congress should tell Bush that he has to follow the laws we already have or face impeachment. Oh wait - Harry and Nancy wouldn't do that.
Our nation has now turned back the hands of time to a point in history before we were actually a nation:
The Senate, siding with President Bush shortly after he personally lobbied lawmakers at the Capitol, rejected a move Thursday by a leading Republican to allow terrorism suspects to challenge their imprisonment in court.
The vote paved the way for final passage of Bush's plan to establish "military commissions" to prosecute terrorism suspects in legislation that also spells out violations of the Geneva Conventions, a treaty that sets international standards for the treatment of war prisoners.
Republicans say the bill is necessary to ensure that terrorists can be brought to justice and that CIA personnel will not be charged with war crimes when interrogating these suspects.
Barring any last-minute hiccups, the bill could reach the president's desk as early as Friday.
The Republicans feel that people have no rights and can be detained indefinitely just because the President wants them to. This is an all time low for our nation. Of course the legislation takes a big chance of failing in the judicial system, but that will take time. It will also reset everything that Senate did this week and have to be done all over again. This is the price of a rubber stamp congress. They have destroyed what America stands for.
Just as disturbing is the provision in this bill that gives a carte blanche pardon to Bush and his administration for violating the Geneva Conventions. The pardon is effective from 9/11/2001 on up. By passing this bill, Senate has already convicted the Bush administration of war crimes and instead choose to make it so that breaking the law is legal. Again - they have destroyed what America stands for. Bush, his administration and the Republicans are true enemies to the United States.
Bush is losing support in all corners now:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, parting company with President Bush, came out against harsh interrogations of terror suspects even as the president lobbied personally for it on Capitol Hill Thursday.
"I will resist any bill that does not enable this program to go forward with legal clarity," Bush told reporters back at the White House after his meeting with lawmakers."
White House spokesman Tony Snow, asked if Powell was confused about the White House's goals, said "Yes." Later, Snow said he probably shouldn't have used the word "confused."
"I know that Colin Powell wants to beat the terrorists too," he said.
The latest sign of GOP division over White House security policy came Thursday in a letter that Powell sent to Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., one of three rebellious senators taking on the White House. Powell said Congress must not pass Bush's proposal to redefine U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions, a treaty that sets international standards for the treatment of prisoners of war.
The campaign-season development accompanied Bush's visit to Capitol Hill, where he conferred behind closed doors with House Republicans. His plan would narrow the U.S. legal interpretation of the Geneva Conventions treaty in a bid to allow tougher interrogations and shield U.S. personnel from being prosecuted for war crimes.
"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," said Powell, who served under Bush and is a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."
Now the Republican White House does not like Republican passed laws:
An obscure law approved by a Republican-controlled Congress a decade ago has made the Bush administration nervous that officials and troops involved in handling detainee matters might be accused of committing war crimes, and prosecuted at some point in U.S. courts.
Senior officials have responded by drafting legislation that would grant U.S. personnel involved in the terrorism fight new protections against prosecution for past violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996. That law criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions governing conduct in war and threatens the death penalty if U.S.-held detainees die in custody from abusive treatment.
In light of a recent Supreme Court ruling that the international Conventions apply to the treatment of detainees in the terrorism fight, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has spoken privately with Republican lawmakers about the need for such "protections," according to someone who heard his remarks last week.
Gonzales told the lawmakers that a shield is needed for actions taken by U.S. personnel under a 2002 presidential order, which the Supreme Court declared illegal, and under Justice Department legal opinions that have been withdrawn under fire, the source said. A spokeswoman for Gonzales, Tasia Scolinos, declined to comment on Gonzales's remarks.
So Bush issues an order that the Supreme Court declares illegal and now Gonzales wants a "shield" for people who followed this order. Ok fine - shield them, but the person who issued that order should have to pay the price under law for it, and that person is George Bush.
This was the big ruling everyone was waiting on and Bush suffered a big blow on it:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Bush administration did not have the legal authority to go forward with military tribunals for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba.
The 5-3 ruling means officials will either have to come up with new procedures to prosecute at least 10 so-called enemy combatants awaiting trial, or release them from U.S. military custody.
The case was a major test of President Bush's authority as commander in chief in a wartime setting. Bush has aggressively asserted the power of the government to capture, detain, and prosecute suspected terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The high court was ruling on the case of Ahmed Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni native captured in Afghanistan in 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks. He is accused of conspiracy, which his lawyers say is not an internationally approved charge.
His lawyers argued that President Bush exceeded his authority by setting up military commissions to try terrorist suspects, whom the administration terms "enemy combatants," rather than prisoners of war. The term means the suspects do not have the rights traditionally afforded prisoners of war, as outlined in the Geneva Conventions.
Three issues were before the high court: whether the planned tribunals are a proper exercise of presidential authority; whether detainees facing prosecution have the right to challenge the procedures of those tribunals and their detentions; and whether the Supreme Court even has the jurisdiction to hear such appeals.
Arguments are once again heating up over detainee treatment at Guantanamo
Bay. This time it is not from some U.N. group or international human rights
Blair: Guantanamo 'must be stopped'
LONDON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
is an "anomaly that has to be dealt with," British Prime Minister Tony Blair
The Geneva Conventions must be applied to detainees at the camp, Blair
stressed. He did not have an up-to-date report that indicated whether that
was the case at present, he added.
Giving evidence to senior British parliamentarians, the prime minister
said that detention at the camp "has got to be brought to an end."
"This is an anomaly that has to be dealt with," he said.
The United States is under increasing criticism over its treatment of
detainees at the camp, where suspected al-Qaida militants were held
following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Last week the Bush administration was condemned by the United Nations
after it refused to grant full access to the camp to inspectors from the
U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
"The writ of international human rights does not stop at the gates of
Guantanamo Bay," the UN's special rapporteur on the right to health, Paul
Hunt, told reporters at an Amnesty International conference in London
None other that our closest ally is now calling for changes at Guantanamo.
This has to really worry the Bush administration when our partners in the Iraq
war are now concerned over the treatment of prisoners.
While the country waits for the release of the latest rounds of Abu Gharib
abuse photos to emerge, news is coming out of Australia that U.S. soldiers
burned bodies of Taliban rebels in an effort to taunt their opponenets. The
following is from Australia's
Fairfax Digital where they have obtained footage of this act:
Film rolls as troops burn dead
By Tom Allard
US soldiers in Afghanistan burnt the bodies of dead Taliban and taunted
their opponents about the corpses, in an act deeply offensive to Muslims and
in breach of the Geneva conventions.
An investigation by SBS's Dateline program, to be aired tonight, filmed
the burning of the bodies.
It also filmed a US Army psychological operations unit broadcasting a
message boasting of the burnt corpses into a village believed to be
According to an SBS translation of the message, delivered in the local
language, the soldiers accused Taliban fighters near Kandahar of being
"cowardly dogs". "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and
burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are
the lady boys we always believed you to be," the message reportedly said.
"You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you
are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family.
Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."
The burning of a body is a deep insult to Muslims. Islam requires burial
within 24 hours.