VICE PRESIDENT FOR TORTURE

What Cheney believes in. I had dinner with an old friend last night and he made a good point about the Bush administration and torture. In every war, the executive tends to over-reach. In this one, they have over-reached to the point of subverting the very meaning of America and its honor. But the task of correcting such an over-reach is ultimately the Congress’s. We have seen the ramifications of an improvised, ill-advised, poorly executed policy of allowing abuse of detainees for purposes of “military necessity” as defined by the executive. What we need are laws to create a clear standard both for Geneva-protected combatants and non-Geneva-protected terrorists. That’s the Congress’s job, not the president’s. It’s staggering that the McCain Amendment is the first attempt to do that. We have known of these abuses for a long time now. John Kerry wouldn’t touch them in the campaign. The feckless Democrats in Congress are too scared of being labeled soft on terror to defend American and Western values; and the corrupt Republicans couldn’t give a damn, for the most part, or are too scared to stand up to a president of their own party. The legacy of torture is firstly this president’s. But it is also this Congress’s.

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