Last week the U.S. Senate voted to allow George Bush to torture prisoners and hold them indefinitely in prison. They also agreed to allow him to define what "torture" is, and to admit evidence against these prisoners that was obtained by questionable means. Thirty-four senators (32 Democrats, one Republican, and one Independent) opposed Bush's detainee bill. Those 34 senators are true American heroes, defending us against a president who just doesn't believe our Constitution or our laws apply to his own behavior.
We Americans can make all the pretty noises we want about sharing our great system of liberty-and-justice-for-all with the rest of the world, but observers everywhere are calling us on the fact that we no longer practice it here at home. Bush's torture and kangaroo court bill only adds credence to this perception.
For a little while, three Republican senators, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner, put up a good fight against the most egregious aspects of the bill, particularly those that would put Americans in danger by gutting the U.S.'s commitment to the Geneva Conventions on prisoner treatment. They caved last week, however, to a version of the bill that gave Bush three quarters of what he wanted, as well as plenty of room to do dainty rhetorical dances around the meanings of "torture" and "enemy combatant."
One of the senators who voted against Bush's torture bill was Illinois Democrat Barack Obama. Obama predicts that our senators' failure to uphold the foundations of justice will come back to bite us. He asserted that the work that was done on the detainee bill was shoddy and quickly done, thanks to the urgent political demands of the November elections. Calling the Senate's deliberations "a debate over the fundamental human rights of the accused," he noted that, "When we're sloppy and cut corners, we are undermining those very virtues of America that will lead us to success in winning this war."
Obama is coming to speak in Milwaukee on Oct. 31, in support of Gov. Doyle's re-election campaign, as is former President Clinton, on the 24th. I hope both of these eloquent politicians will take these opportunities to share their thoughts about what Wisconsinites can do to defend ourselves and our American values against a president run amok.
The passage of the detainee bill reminds me of that bumper sticker, popular a few years back, that says, "No one died when Clinton lied." Clinton lied to us, it's true. But at least he was disagreeing with the American public on what the definition of the word "is" is. Better that than finding out the hard way what Bush's definition of "torture" is, and what it means for our soldiers abroad.
Cozen Beguile said: Paul- You are correct! I was testing Matt with my own spin. That is what I do best. LOL! PEACE!
Paul said: Cozen - Actually, Bill Clinton was in office as president in 1993 when the first attack happened on the WTC. Bush Sr. was president from 1988-1992. Clinton was sworn-in in Jan of '93. Sorry...
Cozen Beguile said: Matt- I think you may have had a talk radio overdose. The first attack by Al-Qaeda (on our soil) was the first attack on the World Trade Center. It was 1993 and Bush Sr. was in office. Why didn't Bush Sr. wipe out Al-Queda then? He let them run amuck and allowed the future attacks on the Cole and the Trade Center! See how silly your point is? Lets not forget that George Sr. and Ronald armed Al-Qaeda and Iraq. How did that work out for us? Hmm? I wonder how Iran/Contra is going to play out? PEACE!
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