WH aims to block legislation on inhumane treatment of detainees
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the White House is seeking to block legislation that would authorize bar the US military from engaging in “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a revised Army field manual.
The WH is arguing that the effort would “restrict the President’s authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice.” The Bush administration’s opposition is so strong that they have threatened to veto the $442 billion defense appropriations bill if language to this effect is added to the legislation.
The WH position is absurd. While our nation is asking other countries around the world to live by the rule of law and respect the Geneva Convention the WH is opposing efforts that would ensure our government abides by the same standard. The president required special powers in the days after September 11th to respond to the attacks against our country, but enough time has now passed that we need to allow Congress to authorize, limit and monitor how the executive branch and military conduct the war.
TYL applauds Sens. McCain and Graham for their leadership and urges the WH to support their effort to prevent inhumane treatment of any individual in the custody of the United States of America. This effort, along with one by Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) to give the detainees legal status while formalizing a process for the review of military decisions to hold enemy combatants, should be embraced by the WH and by Congress.