What do you do when your President refuses to recognize the illegality of a interrogation technique? You treat him like a child and specifically tell him how far he can go. The Senate passed an intelligence bill on Wednesday the forbids the use of waterboarding. The House passed a similar provision back in December.
The question of the legality of waterboarding has been a hot topic over the past few months after the C.I.A. admitted to having used the interrogation technique in 2002 and 2003. Torture is illegal, but the Bush administration has refused to recognize the technique, which simulates the sensation of drowning and has been used since the Spanish Inquisition, as torture.
President Bush has promised to veto the bill, which would restrict the CIA and the other 15 intelligence agencies to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual, which does not include waterboarding as a technique. Within the last week, the Bush Administration has said that waterboarding is a legal technique that could be used again if authorized.
For the record, the bill passed 51-45. Obama and Hillary, who both oppose waterboarding, missed the vote while they were out on the campaign trail. John McCain, who was tortured for five years in Vietnam and has previously said that he believes waterboarding is torture, voted against the passage of the bill. It’s sad to see the “Straight Talk Express” pandering for political gain. I’ve always respected John McCain’s staunch opposition of waterboarding, regardless of whether that put him at odds with his party. It looks like he’s changing his position to appeal to Republicans who don’t feel that he is conservative enough to be the Republican nominee.
We’ll keep you updated on the future of this bill.
Senate OKs bill banning waterboarding – [Chicago Tribune]