Friday, October 07, 2005

 

Congress Acts on Detainees

Better late than never

The Senate voted 90-9 yesterday to impose restrictions on the treatment of terrorism suspects.
But lawmakers from each party have said Congress must provide U.S. troops with clear standards for detaining, interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects in light of charges of mistreatment at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"We demanded intelligence without ever clearly telling our troops what was permitted and what was forbidden. And when things went wrong, we blamed them and we punished them," said Mr. McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"Our troops are not served by ambiguity. They are crying out for clarity, and Congress cannot shrink from this duty," Mr. McCain said.
I think they did shirk from this duty. The amendment doesn't explicitly codify exactly what is permitted, what is prohibited and under what circumstances different rulesets may apply. I am not an attorney, but the amendment seems to invite the courts to intervene, which is the last thing we need. Proper prosecution of a war is the exclusive domain of the elected branches; the judicial branch should be kept out.

That being said, I'm glad Congress is finally providing the Bush Administration with some needed oversight on this matter. Though many of my left/liberal friends disagree, that is a role for Congress exclusively, not one for international institutions of any kind -- ever.

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