What Would George Washington Say Now?
By Cassandra D
Yesterday the Senate passed the detainee treatment bill that allows President Bush to determine what constitutes torture. [He has such a great track record. He is, after all, The Decider. Why should we doubt his abilities?]
Hillary Clinton spoke [great speech, by the way; read the whole thing] about the pending legislation and noted the example set for us by George Washington during the Revolutionary War:
"General Washington announced a decision unique in human history, sending the following order for handling prisoners: 'Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren.'"
Why is it so easy for Americans today to throw out the wisdom of our ancestors?
The New York Times sums it up.
Statement from People for the American Way President Ralph G. Neas:
“Senator John McCain has often noted how our system of justice makes us different from terrorists—how it gives us the moral high ground. While terrorists might resort to torture, it has long been against the law for Americans to do so. At least that used to be the case, before Senator McCain and others caved to the Bush administration and passed this atrocious measure.
“This legislation turns our system of justice upside down, betrays basic American values of fairness and justice, and undermines the rule of law. It gives the Bush administration a blank check to detain whoever it sees fit, and to use whatever interrogation techniques it wants, without oversight. It deprives detainees of habeas corpus—their right to challenge their imprisonment in the courts—and it may make them vulnerable to the use of secret or coerced evidence. Adding insult to injury, this legislation includes a blanket waiver letting members of this administration off the hook for potential violations of the law. What a disgrace.
“Some senators probably supported this measure because they were worried about being perceived as soft on terrorism. But capitulation doesn’t make them look strong. If they want to win the votes of people who are worried about security, they had better show that they know how to stand up and fight. Unfortunately for our democracy, too many of them have failed to do so today.”