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Bipartisan Effort to Regulate Detainee Treatment Derailed By Frist

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JABBS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:18 PM
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Bipartisan Effort to Regulate Detainee Treatment Derailed By Frist
Senate Republicans led a bipartisan effort to push legislation through regulating the treatment and interrogation of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody.

Then the Bush administration pushed back.

Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), in his continuing role as designated Bush-Cheney lackey, derailed the bipartisan effort to set rules for the treatment of enemy prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other military detention camps by abruptly stopping debate on a $491 billion defense bill.

The unusual July 26 move came after several senators beat back an effort by Frist to block amendments setting standards for military-prisoner interrogations.

Frist jumped through hoops to derail the amendments after the White House indicated its intent to veto the defense spending bill if it contained such amendments, and after Vice President Dick Cheney met last Thursday with Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Warner (R-VA), urging them to back off.

Rather that risk debate and (gasp) votes in favor of the amendments, Frist pulled the defense spending bill from consideration. The two amendments likely would have received substantial Democratic support and had a strong chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Senate.

By delaying action on the legislation, possibly into September, Frist put off potentially embarrassing defeats for the Bush Administration. But his failure to block the amendments outright -- he needed 60 votes to cut off debate under Senate rules but mustered only 50 -- means the Senate will have another opportunity to vote on military-detainee amendments later this year.

***

Frist's last-ditch moves frustrated senators from both sides of the aisle, including McCain, a co-author of two of the three amendments under consideration.

"It just doesn't make sense to leave defense authorization," McCain was quoted by Knight-Ridder. "We need to make sure that every member of the Department of Defense understands the procedures that are being used in interrogation and we don't have a repetition of Abu Ghraib."

McCain had been working with Graham and Warner, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to respond to widely publicized cases of prisoner abuse. They proposed to set specific standards for the treatment of foreign detainees.

The three submitted an amendment on July 25 that would have required that the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation cover prisoners in military custody. Then, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), introduced an amendment that would prohibit cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners and would require the United States to abide by the Geneva Convention and other international agreements on the treatment of prisoners.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) also had an amendment that would have set up an independent commission to study reports of abuse at military detention facilities.

***

This article first appeared at Journalists Against Bush's B.S.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:20 PM
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1. Frist loves torture.. look what he does to kitty cats!
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:29 PM
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2. I think McCain knows a little bit more about detainee torture
than Frist.
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:38 PM
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3. call the bluff
Blocking and/or vetoing the defense bill would be suicide.
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JABBS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. It amounts to a delay
If the votes are there, the votes are there. Come September, Bush will have to decide how strongly he feels about our current detainee policy.
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