Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some backbone in the Senate

It may be because they face tough re-election battles, but four GOP senators -- including John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee -- defied President Bush and approved legislation on the treatment of detainees. The bill goes to the Senate floor next week.

Unlike Bush's proposal -- which would essentially rubber stamps his own actions -- the bill Warner's committee approved would permit suspects to view classified evidence against them and does not attempt to rewrite the Geneva Conventions.

As senior GOP leaders balked, Colin Powell released a letter opposing Bush's plan.

"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," Powell, a retired general who is also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his letter.

Powell said Bush's bill, by redefining the kind of treatment the Geneva Conventions allow, "would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."

The effect of the split could be seen in the White House's response -- firing testily from the hip and having to apologize later.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Powell was "confused" about the White House plan. Later, Snow said he probably shouldn't have used that word.

"I know that Colin Powell wants to beat the terrorists, too," he said.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened to ignore the Armed Services Committee and bring Bush's proposal directly to the floor for a vote -- a move that would only increase the division in the GOP ranks.

That Bush, he's quite a uniter.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing that so many of our leaders still have no respect for the rule of law (national and international), even with all we have learned over the last couple of years and the Supreme Court ruling.
Much praise to Warner and the other courageous Republicans.
- Caracarn

9/15/2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

The real test will be twofold: what happens on the floor of the Senate, and what happens in conference committee when the Senate bill is combined with the House bill -- which is much more of a Bush rubber stamp.

9/15/2006 1:33 PM  

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