I've read the defenses, some of them from people I consider well-intentioned, but I cannot escape the overwhelming sense that yesterday was a sad, sad day for the United States. I suspect history's verdict for this short-sighted failure will be harsh on both the Administration and Congress, but far worse, I expect that American soldiers will suffer horribly for this act of retroactive political ass-covering.
...the bill immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees who the military and the CIA captured before the end of last year. It gives the president a dominant but not exclusive role in setting the rules for future interrogations of terrorism suspects.
Written largely, but not completely, on the administration's terms, with passages that give executive branch officials discretion to set details or divert from its protections, the bill is meant to provide what Bush said yesterday are "the tools" needed to handle terrorism suspects U.S. officials hope to capture.
And yes, I understand that the terrorists who oppose us are often sadistic, remorseless butchers. But the fact that our enemies commit far more heinous acts doesn't mitigate the fact that the Congress of The United States of American just authorized state use of more "humane" forms of torture.
If the cost of security is that we must become more like our enemies, then I guess I don't care that much about safety. Honor is priceless, and these actions have sullied it. If you feel differently, that's your right, but I doubt that you'll be proud of that position five years from now. So I guess we'll just wait and see.
But today? Shame on us.