Friday, December 09, 2005

Calling the President's bluff

Two months ago, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to bar torture or cruel or inhumane treatment of prisoners under US control. Since then, the amendment's sponsor, Senator John McCain, has been fighting to get the provision accepted by a conference committee and to prevent the White House from watering it down by exempting the CIA. Today, he won; the clause has been accepted unaltered, and the full bill will go to its third vote sometime next week.

President Bush has threatened to veto the military appropriations bill this clause is attached to if it is not removed. Congress has just called his bluff. It remains to be seen whether the Bush Administration is really so brazen as to use the veto for the first time in five years to defend the "right" of American troops to torture...