Thursday, September 30


Oh my God. You must read this post by Mark Kleiman:

"The Bush administration is supporting a provision in the House leadership's intelligence reform bill that would allow U.S. authorities to deport certain foreigners to countries where they are likely to be tortured or abused, an action prohibited by the international laws against torture the United States signed 20 years ago.

"The provision, part of the massive bill introduced Friday by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), would apply to non-U.S. citizens who are suspected of having links to terrorist organizations but have not been tried on or convicted of any charges. Democrats tried to strike the provision in a daylong House Judiciary Committee meeting, but it survived on a party-line vote.

"The provision, human rights advocates said, contradicts pledges President Bush made after the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal erupted this spring that the United States would stand behind the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Hastert spokesman John Feehery said the Justice Department 'really wants and supports' the provision."
No, this isn't a winning issue for the Democrats. Just the reverse. Forcing Democrats to vote against torturing suspected terrorists is an excellent way to paint them as soft on terrorism. That's been the Administration strategy from the get-go: pursue absolutely disgustinly outrageously illegal and unconstitutional policies and then take advantage of the fact that some of your political opponents have enough self-respect and common decency to oppose them. It worked in 2002, and it's working now.

As noted before in this space, anyone voting Republican this year is fully on notice of what that means. Maybe you intend to vote for staying the course in Iraq, tort reform, or tax cuts, or against affirmative action, teachers' unions, or political correctness. But you are, in addition, actually voting for torture.

My great fear is that they know it, and like Bush, will be wildly enthusiastic at this "strong, resolute" initiative.


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