Bush / McCain Deal: Torture, But Say We Don't

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Much was made of John McCain and the Senate "standing up to the Bush Administration" on torture. The McCain Amendment that called on the U.S. to adhere to international conventions against torture passed the Senate by a 90-10 vote despite extraordinary lobbying by Vice President Cheney.

All along, Bush's spokespeople have been saying they were confident something could be "worked out." On December15, McCain and Bush announced that they made a deal that gave both of them what they wanted: torture without worry about prosecution, and with deniability.

The New York Times wrote ("Ban Torture. Period" 12/15), that the compromise wording "actually appears to allow coerced evidence [from torture]." That means people can go to jail (or send others to jail) based on torture-extracted "evidence."And the Times reported that "Lawmakers were also discussing language that would strip United States courts, including the Supreme Court, of the power to review detentions."

In their editorial, the Times said, "Mr. Bush had barely announced his deal with Mr. McCain before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it crystal clear that the administration would define torture any way it liked. He said on CNN that torture meant the intentional infliction of severe physical or mental harm, and repeated the word 'severe' twice. He would not even say whether that included 'waterboarding'--tormenting a prisoner by making him think he is being drowned."

It gets worse--if that's possible. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that he will oppose even the loophole-filled McCain/Bush wording unless the White House guarantees in writing that it would have no effect on intelligence-gathering."

Thousands of people abducted from their homes in Afghanistan and Iraq, mostly at random, are being raped, electrocuted, or nearly (or fully) drowned in U.S.-run torture chambers in Afghanistan, Iraq, at Guantánamo, or in secret centers in Europe. Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was subjected to isolation designed to drive a person insane. Rape! Drowning! Psychological torture meant to induce insanity! How is this anything but sadistic violence? What can explain this indiscriminate, barbaric brutality except a need to instill widespread fear and terror among people, including the "ordinary Iraqis," who Bush admitted in a recent speech make up the overwhelming majority of those he calls "the terrorists" in Iraq?

The Bush/McCain compromise endorses torture, while providing deniability to the guilty, and convincing the ignorant, including the willfully gullible, that it's not really happening.

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