Prisoner Detainee Bill Set For Showdown – Republican Senators Propose Legislation that Competes with President’s

Prisoner Detainee Bill Set For Showdown – Republican Senators Propose Legislation that Competes with President’s

John Warner
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Some Republican Senators will be opposing the President’s legislation concerning military tribunals and the Geneva Convention. Even Collin Powel, former Secretary of State under President Bush, has asked congressional leaders to kill the bill. Republican Senators John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham are bringing their own competing measure to the table.

Next week will likely be the showdown in Congress over these two competing bills. While both pieces of legislation allow for the detention of people from around the world as enemy combatants, the President’s bill goes further. The Administration’s bill would allow “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.”

This concerns John McCain, a former POW during the Vietnam War. McCain believes that this may open the door to other nations doing the same thing to American prisoners. If America mistreats its prisoners, American soldiers are in danger of the same, or worse. An Editorial in the New York Times suggests that what the President really wants is Congressional authority to keep on doing things to prisoners in C.I.A. jails that are clear violations of international rules. Comment on this Article at our Forum

The Presidents bill also includes other measures that could lead to mistreatment of American prisoners. Bush’s bill could make it much harder to prosecute C.I.A. interrogators, private contractors or the men who gave them their orders. Some worry that without the threat of prosecution, the US could be accused of mistreating detainees, similar to what happened at Abu Ghraib.

The President’s version would permit the use of coerced evidence, secret hearings and other potential violations of American justice at military commissions similar to what was set up by the Administration after 9/11. These commissions were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The timing is bad for both Republican and Democrat lawmakers. We are entering primary election season, and they are being asked to pass controversial legislation. If the Senators don’t pass what the President wants, it will likely be vetoed. If this happens, they could be accused of being weak on the war on terror. On the other hand, the President is not as popular today, and some in congress may want to distance themselves from him this election. Comment on this Article at our Forum

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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