Following the last Supreme Court ruling on this topic, which also struck down stubborn Administration detainee policies, the Senator (a Vietnam torture victim himself) invested no small amount of his own treasured (and well-earned) historical capital to try to broker a deal on the detainees.
And, in late 2006, he did.
It’s called the Military Commissions Act. It was a terrible idea from the very beginning, and it was one of two federal statutes undercut by the Justices last Thursday. It’s no wonder the nominee is taking the defeat personally.
After first insisting that federal law clearly and unambiguously outlaw “torture,” McCain suddenly caved to White House pressure on the MCA, allowing the Administration to insert into the law a clause that effectively allows (and, indeed, legally buttresses the efforts of) the executive branch to implement torture as a means of interrogation.
Without McCain’s pander, there would have been no bad law for the Court to strike down last week. Without McCain’s grandiloquent appeal to Democrats and moderates during that lame-duck session, there quite possibly might have been a better law that just might have passed its constitutional test this term.
McCain’s sell-out on the torture language is not the reason the Justices declared the MCA unconstitutional. It is not the reason why the detainees now have more access to federal courts than they did before. But it is emblematic of the larger and much more destructive, seven-year-long sell-out of the legislative branch in the legal fight against terrorism.
And that emblem, thanks to the Supreme Court, now has John McCain’s face on it just in time for the run-up to the general election.
I remember reading sme of the comments on McCain on right-wing Republican sites such as Free Republic. He was generally condemned by freepers and their ilk for being soft on terrorism, they couldn’t have cared less about the details. It was a political version of a David Copperfied trick. McCain makes a lot of noise about doing the right thing and standing up for bed rock American principles of justice – while appearing weak to the rabid right the majority of Americans thought they saw an act of integrity. The Military Commissions Act turned out to be a cheap show trick. McCain declared victory as the man who stood against torture and unfair treatment of detainees even as Bush smirked and knew with yet another little signing statement that torture and secret renditions would continue, business as usual with McCain’s blessing. Many members of both parties stood with McCain the man that knew first hand what torture was. He used what appeared to everyone as unique in his moral authority on the issue. Even the most zealous McCain supporter, at least one would hope, would pause for a moment to think about McCain grasp of the meaning of integrity and honor. Now McCain is outraged by a court decision that should have never been have had to be made. One of John McCain’s two faces was against torture and illegal imprisonment, the other, now that he has to pander to the far Right is for it. Not everyone that Bush has rounded up in his nebulous war on terror is guilty, not even their fellow inmates think so, America’s prison for terrorists often held the wrong men
The militants crept up behind Mohammed Akhtiar as he squatted at the spigot to wash his hands before evening prayers at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
They shouted “Allahu Akbar” — God is great — as one of them hefted a metal mop squeezer into the air, slammed it into Akhtiar’s head and sent thick streams of blood running down his face.
Akhtiar was among the more than 770 terrorism suspects imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They are the men the Bush administration described as “the worst of the worst.”
But Akhtiar was no terrorist. American troops had dragged him out of his Afghanistan home in 2003 and held him in Guantanamo for three years in the belief that he was an insurgent involved in rocket attacks on U.S. forces. The Islamic radicals in Guantanamo’s Camp Four who hissed “infidel” and spat at Akhtiar, however, knew something his captors didn’t: The U.S. government had the wrong guy.
“He was not an enemy of the government, he was a friend of the government,” a senior Afghan intelligence officer told McClatchy. Akhtiar was imprisoned at Guantanamo on the basis of false information that local anti-government insurgents fed to U.S. troops, he said.
An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that Akhtiar was one of dozens of men — and, according to several officials, perhaps hundreds — whom the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.
There is a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) that goes,
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
We can safely say when they come for you John McCain will not be there to speak up for what’s right.
Isn’t Bush and Company supposed to be able to see through walls and fly faster then a speeding bullet when it comes to stopping the bad guys, Nuclear Ring Reportedly Had Advanced Design
American and international investigators say that they have found the electronic blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon on computers that belonged to the nuclear smuggling network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist, but that they have not been able to determine whether they were sold to Iran or the smuggling ring’s other customers.
If Iraq is the front in the war on terror someone forgot to tell Khan.