According to this story in the Boston Globe about the Bush/Rove response to Katrina, there is an interesting battle possibly bubbling on the horizon.
Hidden about halfway through the article,
Senator John McCain, a conservative Republican and a war hero, has been appalled by the administration's policy that prisoners of war in American custody may be deliberately subjected to cruel, degrading, and inhumane treatment as part of interrogations. We are the only nation in the world with such a stated policy. (which was designed in 2002 by now Attorney General Alberto Gonzales).
McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham, all Republicans on the Senate armed services committee, have drafted an amendment to the defense appropriations bill.
It states that US policy should be:
defined as the interrogation procedures authorized by the US Army Field Manual, which specifically prohibits cruel, degrading, or inhumane treatment. Second, all detainees held by the United States, in whatever invented category, must be registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Not an unreasonable amendment at all. McCain said, 'This is not about who ''they" are, McCain has said repeatedly. It's about who we are. ''We are Americans... and we hold ourselves to humane standards of treatment of people no matter how terrible they may be. To do otherwise undermines our security, but it also undermines our greatness as a nation."
Bush responded to the proposed amendment by threatening to veto the entire defense appropriations bill if the amendment is included. He sent Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to capitol hill to twist Republican arms.
Since then, dozens of retired generals, admirals, and other ranking officials have signed letters supporting the McCain amendment. Retired Brigadier General James Cullen, former chief judge of the US Army Court of Appeals, told a conference on national security policy in Washington last Monday that the legal experts of the military's own criminal system had been systematically excluded from the setting of interrogation and detention policy after 9/11.
Now, I for one am not one to trust McCain, he shifts positions more often than a weather vane. Virtually everything he does is with an eye to his own Presidential prospects in 2008.
But this amendment is bigger than McCain. It is about the United States standing up for what we have been in the past (after all, it only returns interrogation tactics back to what they have been historically, and puts us into compliance with the Geneva convention in regard to Red Cross registration).