Wednesday, March 12, 2008

House upholds Bush veto of anti-torture bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress on Tuesday upheld his veto of a bill to ban the CIA from subjecting enemy detainees to interrogation methods denounced by critics as torture.
A largely party-line vote of 225-188 in the Democratic-led House of Representatives fell short of the needed two-thirds majority to override the president.

Bush maintains that the United States does not torture, but has refused to discuss interrogation techniques, saying that doing so could tip off terrorists ...

The bill vetoed by Bush was a sweeping intelligence authorization measure. A key provision would have required the CIA to comply with the rules set by the Army Field Manual in questioning detainees.

The rules forbid eight interrogation methods, including waterboarding, electric shock, beatings and mock executions. They permit 19 techniques, mainly psychological, such as trying to convince detainees that cooperation will shorten the war and save their country ...

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was tortured while a prisoner in the Vietnam war and is now his party's presumptive presidential nominee, opposed the bill.

"I think that waterboarding is torture and illegal, but I will not restrict the CIA to only the Army Field Manual," McCain said last month.

Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, competing for the Democratic presidential nomination, both backed the bill and denounced Bush's veto.
I do have this vague recollection of a country that held itself to a higher standard and wouldn't do things like first-strike nuclear weapon use or torture of its enemies. "We're better than that," its leaders would say. I must have dreamed all that or read about it in a novel.

I excerpted liberally, but the whole article's here.

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