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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fault Lines: Ninety to Nine

"...last night, 89 senators sided with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who led the fight for the interrogation restrictions. McCain said military officers have implored Congress for guidelines, adding that he mourns "what we lose when by official policy or by official negligence we allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget . . . that which is our greatest strength: that we are different and better than our enemies.""

-WaPo 10/6/05

I was talking to awol tonight and he pointed out just how significant this vote was. Not simply because a branch of the United States government, for the first time since Abu Ghraib, has stood up and clarified that torture is not only wrong, but should be against our national policy. Our representatives have finally put torture to a vote. Thank god for that.

This vote was also significant in that the Senate took this action against the wishes of the Bush Administration...with GOP Senators Warner and Graham and McCain standing up to Bush and Cheney. The Washington Post link even reports that a letter was read on the floor from former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing the amendment and hoping it might address "the terrible public diplomacy crisis created by Abu Ghraib." In all,46 Republican Senators joined John McCain and the 43 Democrats and 1 Independent in creating a powerful 90 vote statement from the Senate floor.

Two things come to mind. First, as awol suggested to me, fault lines are emerging within the GOP. Indictments are pending in Washington...Katrina's disaster is still before the nation...and Senators are looking for distance from George Bush. The nine Republican Senators left standing with the Bush Administration send a powerful signal of just how isolated the ideological right is right now. Their names read like roll call of the morally lost and bankrupt. The hardest of the 'dead-end' hard core.

Second, it's hard not to notice in this context that Bush has nominated his own counsel, Harriet Miers, to the Supreme Court. (His former counsel, Alberto Gonzales, the current Attorney General, was complicit in creating the legal climate in which Abu Ghraib was allowed to take place.) David Cole asks, in the Nation whether this means Bush expects a blank check from the Courts in his conduct of the 'war on terror'? It's a relevant question and in a climate where the Administration is facing indictments that touch the Oval Office, Miers pick for elevation to the Court raises questions of conflicts of interest and motivation. This is no time to have the Supreme Court tainted by the scandals of this White House.

The Democrats intend to ask just those questions. They should do so loud and clear, and with real persistance in inquiring into the role of this nominee in the current scandals in the Executive Branch. Fault lines are emerging in Washington. The Senate's vote last night may prove to have been the first step out from under the rock.


  • "The dead-enders are still with us, those remnants of the defeated regimes who'll go on fighting long after their cause is lost." -- Donald Rumsfeld

    By Blogger wg, at 8:40 PM  

  • There are known dead ends, and unknown dead ends...and sometimes you gotta go into a dead-end with the dead-enders you've got...

    or something like that.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 9:15 PM  

  • The Center for Constitutional Rights has kept pressure on the torture issue regarding Guantanamo. Susanhu was working with other bloggers to get the word out via a blogroll at Booman. The diary link is here.

    I was telling Boo that I was shocked to see that Sen. Kyl didn't vote against it. Apparently he didn't want to pick a fight with McCain yesterday. I hope you are right that the wingnut faction of the GOP is alienating themselves.

    By Blogger Man Eegee, at 12:29 AM  

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