Yesterday was a stupendous day for those who care about the moral standing of the U.S. and its capacity to get good, reliable intelligence. The McCain Amendment is real, and will profoundly strengthen the hands of the majority of soldiers and CIA officers who want nothing to do with illegal treatment of detainees. But the Graham-Levin Amendment is a bizarre addition, as Emily Bazelon spells out in Slate. The records of Alberto Gonzales and Don Rumsfeld are clear. As long as Rumsfeld runs the Pentagon, you know there will be an attempt to undermine the clear new rules. McCain’s looming chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee will help. I’m not minimizing the complete victory of the anti-torture forces this week, and Bush’s shrewd cooptation of them. Deep down, I believe Bush And Rice don’t want the U.S. to be tarred with this kind of stain, but that Cheney and Rumsfeld are fine with it. The lesson here seems to me to be along Churchill’s dictum of magnanimity in victory … but vigilance too. I do not trust Cheney, Rumsfeld or Gonzales on this issue; and they need to be watched continuously to see they do not try and subvert the law again.


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