Even If They Were American Citizens, Terrorists Would Not Be POWs

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.

9 thoughts on “Even If They Were American Citizens, Terrorists Would Not Be POWs

  1. I will email mine. I think McCain does not see us in a real war. He does not see Islam as a threat to civilization. He betrayed America on immigration, and now he is betraying us in the most critical war since WWII. I think your analysis of his experience as resulting in this ‘black or white’ perception regarding interrogation. There can be NO exception in the middle of war – a foolish restriction.

  2. Another option, if you donate to the GOP, is to stop donating to the national party. Back when The Gang of Fourteen first formed, I responded to a mailing from the Senate Republicans with a handwritten note informing them until they got McCain under control or expoeeled him from the party, I would no longer donate to the Senate Republicans.
    The political machines need money, if enough people start withholding, changes will be made, especially if you name McCain as the primary reason.

    I call him and his Rpublican half of the Gang of Fourteen “The Seven Sisters in the Senate”. I think it has a nice ring to it.
    By posting this piece on your site, Baron, you have raised awareness and performed a valuable service by shining a light into a bit of darkness.

  3. thunder pig–

    I love this…

    I call him and his Rpublican half of the Gang of Fourteen “The Seven Sisters in the Senate”.

    You’re right; it does have a nice ring to it. You wicked chauvanist, you.

    And it’s okay if you think the Baron wrote this piece; people do confuse us sometimes. I think it’s the moustache.

    PS an alternative to donating to the RNC is to give some to Club for Growth. They target individual conservative candidates and the group is now headed by Pat Toomey, who lost the Rep. primary to Arlen Specter

  4. While better than a Kerry/Democratic congress scenario, this republican president and congress just aren’t serious enough about this to make much difference.

    McCain makes my privates itch. That political whore is always trying to make himself look good to the media so he can make a political run for president.

    A serious president and congress would have a Commission going, right now, to determine why jihad is getting worse when we have eliminated over 75% of Al Queda. All we have right now is commission studying whether or not the 9/11 commission was sloppy.

    The idea infuriates me. We’re too busy quibbling about a commission that reported on an event four years ago.

    Even one commission set up to investigate the groundswell of terror would indicate ISLAM as the enemy.

    This is not a strategy to win. At best, all we do is “live with” the murders forever into the future. At worst, we’re all going to get Islamified. Great choices.

    This… government… has no… balls.

    Plan? Vote all the media-whore morons out that only care about how good they look and sound in front of the media cameras. I just don’t think we have the time on our side, but what else can you do?

  5. On a personal level I like John McCain and I respect his service and suffering. However, I was at a loss in trying to understand his political maneuvering and many of his positions. At first, I chalked it up to trying to carve out a centrist position anticipating the next election; and this may be. But, he obviously has some psychological hot buttons that cause him to react in certain ways.

    As a young man he skated on the edge of the oppositional/defiance spectrum and even on active duty was the peg that stood just a tiny bit higher than the rest. Due to the fact that he was a fighter jock and a USN Service Son, he probably got more latitude. And only got pounded down gently.

    He’s always had anger issues and I believe that anger probably got him through his POW ordeal. Pound him into the ground and the last thing that disappears is his middle finger. I also believe that some of his anger still revolves around how the POW’s were treated by the intelligence and military agencies. I know for a fact that Bright Light reports were often slow tracked. I believe that the military and the intell communities are scared spitless of him. Ever see a TV recruiting ad that said, “Hi, this is John McCain for Naval Aviation”?

    So, what I see is an angry man who appears afable on the surface. Right now his political agenda is primary but he is the kind of guy who would probably have no problem pulling the temple down around him if he really got pissed off.

    I’d like to trust him but I really don’t want a guy watching my back who might break out in a temper tantrum at any time. I certainly don’t want him as President and it’s got nothing to do with his political positions which we all know are just window dressing.

    Angry people have perspective problems. Ask me how I know…

  6. As an ex-Marine ( if there is such a thing,) and a Viet-Nam Veteran, I could never vote for Hillary. BUT, I just could not bring myself to vote for McCain.

    As painful as it would be, I guess I would just have to stay home. I believe that his sniping at the President has probably cost some of my fellow Marines their lives.

    For that, I can never forgive him.

  7. Dymphna: I know that an angry person has perspective issues because I struggle with anger over a love/hate relationship with the military and the intelligence communities all the time. Keeping my perspective requires constant vigilance. That’s what I meant in the last sentence.

    Part of it is experiential and the other part is structural. Herman Wouk said the the “Navy was a master plan conceived by geniuses for execution by idiots” By extension, this can be said about the military in general.

    With regard to McCain it is a possible assessment based on reading, including his auto-biography and material from others; chatter in the old boys ex military network of Those Who Watch and Listen and lots of time writing and reading fitness reports. How does a guy who was basically a skate; slacker; for the first part of his life survive that kind of captivity?

    I think when the NVA offered him special treatment based on who his father and grandfather were they created the McCain of today. He found the tool he needed to survive. But remember, when all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.

    Courage is a very complicated concept. I know that stubborn anger, “If those bastards think, for one minute, that…” can be courageous depending upon the outcome, because courage is a retrospective assessment.

    “Righteous Anger”; is also a retrospective analysis. Righteous is an after the fact analysis.

    I could also be completely full of crap, and often am, but this feels right to me. McCain comes across as a sort of soft spoken teddy bear in some contexts. So do I. That’s mostly because people haven’t seen us with our war faces on.

  8. I am increasingly having the feeling it is time to vote out ALL of the current trough residents. They seem to be constantly feeding at the pork trough irregardless of party affiliation.

    And then craziness like this comes up and they cannot help themselves, maybe it is just the nature of the political animal.

    Vote the Bums Out in 2006!

    The Hobo

Comments are closed.