November 13, 2005

Another Torture Update

Do you know how much I hate writing that?

The Senate has passed an amendment (sponsored by Lindsey Graham, formerly thought in some circles to have a shred of decency) to deny the people detained in Guantanamo recourse to American courts. The argument is that this is necessary to complement the McCain Amendment outlawing the U.S. use of torture. (McCain, showing his characteristic resolve, voted for Graham's amendment as well.)

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has offered an amendment to reverse this, which will be voted on tomorrow.

Gary Farber has a lot of good links on this; quoting Katherine,

When you call your senators, tell them that you're asking to vote for the Bingaman Amendment, S. AMDT 2517to bill # S. 1042.

Of course if we deny habeas corpus relief the detainees will never be able to prove that they were tortured. We are essentially promulgating a principle that the U.S. can ship anyone off to Guantanamo without any process whatsoever, except perhaps the laughable military tribunals.

Supposedly it applies only to non-U.S. citizens, but even if that were any excuse, how would a U.S. citizen who was shipped to Guantanamo prove his identity without resource to the courts? Remember, Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen arrested on U.S. soil, is being held in military confinement without being charged with a crime or allowed access to a lawyer. (I think it possible that Padilla deserves to be in jail, but if so we need to prove him guilty. If we can't prove him guilty of a crime, we don't have reason to lock him up. That's simple. Please don't think this makes me soft on terrorism.)

Katherine and Hilzoy at Obisidian Wings have been posting a series of examinations of the facts behind Graham's disgusting demagoguery on this issue. I linked to one above; here's another, and this is also important. But you should read them all.

[Update: Good points from Bob McManus.)

Posted by Matt Weiner at November 13, 2005 12:59 PM

(McCain, showing his characteristic resolve, voted for Graham's amendment as well.)


Posted by: ben wolfson at November 13, 2005 02:19 PM

"Characteristic resolve" is sarcastic, and I'm saying that McCain is a big fat phony. Roll call.

As to why it's characteristic, see the Medium Lobster.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at November 13, 2005 04:35 PM

No no, I understand that. I'm surprised that he did it, is all.

Posted by: ben wolfson at November 16, 2005 10:12 AM