Senator John McCain is dangerous. His determination to prevent the CIA from rigorous interrogation of those whose raison d’être is the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization is both foolish and detrimental to the welfare of the US in its fight against terrorism. When he was sworn in as one of Arizona’s senators, John McCain took an oath to protect us against all enemies:
|“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”|
Now he abrogates that oath by promising to fight any attempts by the CIA to interrogate non-military, stateless and lawless terrorists by impeding without let-up the necessary legislative work of the Senate.
|Speaking from the Senate floor, Mr. McCain said, “If necessary – and I sincerely hope it is not – I and the co-sponsors of this amendment will seek to add it to every piece of important legislation voted on in the Senate until the will of a substantial bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress prevails,” Mr. McCain said on the Senate floor. “Let no one doubt our determination.”|
|The ban would establish the Army Field Manual as the guiding authority in interrogations and prohibit “cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment” of prisoners.|
|The Bush Administration has sought to exempt the CIA from the ban.|
In an earlier post, we urged that you contact your Senators. This has become more imperative than ever. If John McCain’s post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his time as a POW in Vietnam has returned, this is regrettable. But it is also reason for him to recuse himself from this issue. The man can hardly be expected to be reasonable on the subject. And if there is one thing our Senate does not need at the moment, it is another obstructionist.
Here is Mr. John Yoo’s take on the subject. Mr Yoo served in the Justice Department during Bush’s first term and is the author of The Powers of War and Peace : The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11:
|To protect the United States against another 9/11-style attack, it makes little sense to deprive ourselves of important, and legal, means to detect and prevent terrorist attacks. Physical and mental abuse is clearly illegal. But should we also take off the table interrogation methods that fall short of torture — such as isolation, physical labor, or plea bargains — but go beyond mere questioning?|
|McCain’s only real effect would be to limit the interrogation of al-Qaeda terrorists. They are not prisoners of war under Geneva, but a stateless network of religious extremists who do not obey the laws of war, who hide among peaceful populations, and who seek to launch surprise attacks on civilian targets. They have no armed forces to attack, no territory to defend, and no fear of killing themselves in their attacks.|
|Information is the primary weapon in this new conflict. Intelligence gathered from captured operatives may present the most effective means of stopping terrorist attacks. We should not deprive our military and intelligence agencies of the flexibility to prevent another attack, one perhaps using weapons of mass destruction, on an American city by a terrible and unprecedented enemy.|
Meanwhile, the administration has gone on the offensive to prevent the harm that McCain’s amendment could cause:
|Vice President Dick Cheney made a rare personal appeal for Congress to allow the CIA exemption during a weekly meeting with Republican senators earlier this week.|
|Mr. Cheney told his audience the while the United States doesn’t engage in torture, the administration needs an exemption in case the President decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.|
Lincoln had to put up with attempts to undercut his ability to engage rigorously with the enemy. Had John McCain and his ilk prevailed during the Civil War, the Union would not have survived.