Trying to get by...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hello, I caught your link to our McCain alert you posted yesterday. That was great! (And also a great victory we had with the vote). Here is an update we put together for bloggers that you might be interested in. Thanks! Amelia As phrased by Fox News, the Senate delivered a “rare wartime slap” to President Bush on the eve of a major speech on Iraq and terrorism, delivered today. I urge you to write about last night’s major blow to the White House position on treatment of detainees. It’s a clear victory in our campaign to end torture, but only one step toward ensuring the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere will never be repeated as the focus is now on the House. In a 90-9 vote, the Senate overwhelmingly supported Senator John McCain’s amendments to the defense spending bill. The provision, fiercely resisted by Bush administration, sets clear standards on U.S. interrogations of detainees and prohibits the use of cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment. Please see our media alert at: If the administration sticks to its position, this would mark the first use of the presidential veto – on a defense spending bill that is crucial to our troops during wartime. Defiance of the administration’s warnings reflects a sense among Senators that the torture problem needed to be addressed, and no one else is doing it. Senator Frist, the Republican Senate Leader who had initially scuttled this legislation, actually supported the amendments, following a resounding endorsement from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. General Powell said he joins the long list of retired military leaders who wrote a letter to Sen. McCain backing his amendments. The letter, informally organized by Human Rights First, was cited several times by Sen. McCain on the Senate floor, was featured prominently in news coverage, and helped shape public debate on the issue. You can read the letter at The amendments have been endorsed by more than two dozen retired flag-rank military officers, including a former chief of staff of the U.S. armed forces, Gen. John Shalikashvili; the Bush administration’s first Iraq occupation head, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner; the highest-ranking legal officers for each of the armed services; as well as another former Vietnam POW and later U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Pete Peterson. “The abuse of prisoners hurts America’s cause in the war on terror, endangers U.S. service members who might be captured by the enemy, and is anathema to the values Americans have held dear for generations,” the 28 retired generals and admirals wrote McCain this week. I strongly encourage you to blog about this issue, not only because it is, as Sec. Powell says, a “terrible public diplomacy crisis,” but because we have a tough battle ahead with White House opposition and limited support in the House. The public deserves to know about this drawn-out and important fight.

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