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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sen. McCain And Redundancy

Sen. McCain has been making headlines and waves recently over his proposed legislation to pass an anti-torture law. The problem that I, and many others have with this--including colleagues of mine--is that there already are laws prohibiting the use of torture on an individual. Now, before I go further, I will admit that I'm a realist; I know that sometimes things get out of hand. Take, for example, the case of Lt. Col. Allen West. Col. West was informed of a "mole" in Iraq in the police force of the town he was assigned to. His men were going at daily at this point under the constant threat of IEDs. To gain information from this person, who was refusing to cooperate, he threatened to kill the man if he didn't spill his guts. The man relented. Col. West was removed from command. The determination of the Article 32 proceedings state that Col. West was fined $5000, and was awaiting retirement in a rear detachment.

For the record, I see no problem with what Col. West did. However, Sen. McCain may with his piece of legislation. According to his own words, and those that speak on his behalf, Sen. McCain endured far worse literal torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese in the Hanoi Hilton in the Vietnam War. (Let me note here, that I'm aware there is dispute on this. This post IS NOT here for that dispute. That can be dealt with at a later time, if needs be.) He is taking the current laws and making them even stronger thereby making our use of such means much weaker in being able to extract intelligence from the enemy.

(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and

(3) “United States” includes all areas under the jurisdiction of the United States including any of the places described in sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501 (2) of title 49.

That is USC Title 18, Chapter 113C, Section 2340. The following is Section 2340A of the same code and chapter.

(a) Offense.— Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(b) Jurisdiction.— There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if—

(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or

(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

(c) Conspiracy.— A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

See, we have the definitions of what torture is, and a resulting penalty for it. So, why do we need new legislation for something that already exists, and gives us the leeway to still interrogate these people without breaching any of the above provisions. Sen. McCain wants more. He wants to include any sort of "inhumane or degrading" treatment to the list of that which is defined as torture.

I guess the Abu Ghraib pictures evoked memories for him. I honestly don't know, and I don't care. This is political grandstanding at it's worst. But I'm not done yet. Oh no, I have one more bombshell to drop.

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday that he was "confident" that he could reach an agreement with Sen. John McCain over limits on U.S. interrogations of captives in the fight against terrorism.

"We want to make sure we're in a position to be able to interrogate without torture (because there are) people who still want to hurt us," Bush said.McCain has pressed for the restrictions, which the Senate approved, to be adopted in talks with the House and the Bush administration.

Bush's remarks hinted at what appear to be the White House objectives in the tense talks that started with Vice President Dick Cheney's demand that intelligence agents be exempt from the measure.

After suffering a defeat in the Senate on McCain's measure, the White House turned to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who has been negotiating language that would give some legal protection to covert operatives.McCain insists that America needs a clear set of rules governing interrogations, even though he concedes that Bush will authorize whatever techniques he thinks will work.

"You do what you have to do," McCain told Newsweek when asked what a president would do if such treatment was needed to extract information about future attacks. "But you take responsibility for it," he said, citing Franklin Roosevelt's violation of the Neutrality Act to prepare for Adolf Hitler's onslaught.

McCain and Hadley are deep in the legal language about what could happen to CIA operatives who violate the amendment, which bars "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees in American custody. Some congressional officials suggested Monday that the defense budget bill could collapse without an agreement on the anti-torture language.

First, if Sen. McCain's reference to the violation of the Neutrality Act was in reference to our assistance to Great Britain prior to our entry into the war, then I hate to disagree with him. Our alliance to Britain took precedent over the neutrality with Germany. We had an obligation to an ally even though that ally was locked in battle against a nation we were "neutral" with. I'm sorry, but I call things like I see them. Like the rest of the world paying too much attention to Neville Chamberlain, we also ignored the warnings of Churchill. Britain was prepared, for the most part, for war. We weren't. It took the incredible output of our industry to not only assist Britain, but it also helped after we were attacked on Dec. 7th, or did Sen. Mccain miss that anniversary last week?

Second, The white House is worried about the "defeat" of their efforts in the Senate? PLEASE! With thirty senators up for reelection in 2006, it's not surprising that McCain's bill won a resounding 90-9 victory. Some people (Okay, okay, MOST people) like to grandstand heading into the political season so they have something significant to point out to the voters back home about what they did while in office. (OR did people forget about the embarrassing "I actually did vote for the $87 billion dollars before I voted against it" from Sen. John Kerry last year?) To have one's name attached to this legislation might be what they need to get a boost in a contentious race back home.

Personally, I'd like to make it their albatross, along with any other one I can dig up. There are a few on both sides involved with the single most retarded decision made by anyone in this session of Congress. That would be the Gang of 14 deal. Robert Byrd, Ben Nelson, and Joe Lieberman are among the Democrats; Olympia Snowe, Mike DeWine, and Lincoln Chafee for the Republicans.

The point of the matter is that McCain is wasting time where there is none to spare, on issue where quarter shouldn't be given to the enemy. We already have laws on the book that prevent us from engaging in torture. Aside from Abu Ghraib, of which those involved were prosecuted appropriately under the UCMJ, there are no other cases of "torture" (of which in my opinion is not torture) in this war. To make hay out of nothing isn't being "aware" to an issue that you believe is important. It's political grandstanding to score points with the media, and the moderates/liberals in both parties in preparation for a "possible" 2008 presidential run.

Like I said, I'm blunt, and I call things the way I see it.

Mistress Pundit


Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain is a proven rino and I frankly question his loyalty to this country. He with 13 others hijacked the Senate. That is unforgivable and now he holds up legislation to satisfy his sick ego. He should be removed from the Senate. Rawriter

11:32 PM  
Blogger Syd And Vaughn said...


You forget the point that I made in the post: McCain's about to lose some power if these people--whether in part or in whole--aren't reelected. Without the full Gang of 14, he lacks the ability of cohesion. 2006 could be the year that the voters finally cut his ego off at the knees.

Mistress Pundit

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. It brought up an interesting question, why pass a law that's already in effect?
Here's a brief excert from a statement from Sen. McCain taken from this site--


But since last year’s DOD bill, a strange legal determination was made that the prohibition in the Convention Against Torture against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment does not legally apply to foreigners held outside the U.S. They can, apparently, be treated inhumanely. This is the administration’s position, even though Judge Abe Soafer, who negotiated the Convention Against Torture for President Reagan, said in a recent letter that the Reagan administration never intended the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment to apply only on U.S. soil.

Does McCain have an ego? Sure he does, we all do. But I would prefer him over anybody to lead this country--especially that clown we have now.

6:04 PM  

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