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November 10, 2005 1:03 pm

Torture and the Whitehouse

from Dave Batstone The practice of torture by American soldiers is a hot topic at the Pentagon, in the Congress, and in the White House at the moment.

The U.S. Senate already has passed 90-9 a bill that prohibits “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” of prisoners in U.S. custody. The lead advocate of the bill, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), was tortured by his captors during the Vietnam War. According to The New York Times, the Pentagon adopted a policy last Thursday to rein in interrogation techniques. The new policy uses much of the same language as the McCain amendment – drawn in large part from the Geneva Convention – to adopt standards for handling terror suspects. Remarkably, the White House opposes the Pentagon initiative, and threatens to veto any legislation to which the McCain bill gets attached. Vice President Dick Cheney has urged Republican senators to allow CIA counterterrorism operations internationally to be exempt from the ban on mistreatment of prisoners, major newspapers reported.

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