Friday, September 22, 2006

McCain Takes a Drive

So, did Sen. John McCain compromise or cave?

President Bush described the tentative accord on interrogation rules as "continued tough interrogations of terrorism suspects by the CIA at secret detention sites." (WaPo)

McCain, whose political persona is anchored on his experience as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, led the Senate rebellion against White House proposals that would "rewrite" the Geneva Conventions. McCain declared of the compromise, "There is no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved."

The accord's language gives Bush a dominant role in deciding which interrogation methods are permitted and prohibits detainees from using the Geneva Convention to challenge their imprisonment or seek civil damages for mistreatment.

So, was this GOP dust up just political posturing? According to one senior Bush administration official, Bush got what he wanted, "We kind of take the scenic route, but we get there."

For a moment there we thought McCain was back.... but it now seems clear he was just trying to get his Straight Talk Express jump-started for his drive in 2008 presidential road show. Too bad, the country could stand a breath of integrity after all of the sulfuric air spewed by emboldened international leaders at the U.N. this week.

It would have been nice to show the world that the U.S. doesn't "compromise" its principles, need secret detention sites or to diminish the rights of anyone, especially when termed "suspects" only.

But then that would be asking the secretive, power hungry, Constitution-trampling Decider to do something noble, dazzling the world of nations with democracy in all its human dignity lights.

Silly us.


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