"The majority of the GOP caucus, like the White House, still have a hankering for torture:
In a symbolic move, the House endorsed a Senate-passed ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign terrorism suspects Wednesday as negotiations between the White House and Sen. John McCain over the provision appeared at an impasse.Approved 308-122, the procedural vote puts political pressure on House negotiators - but does not require them - to include the ban and another provision standardizing interrogation techniques used by U.S. troops in a final wartime military spending bill.
The vote tally was 200 Democrats, 1 independent and 107 Republicans against torture; 121 Republicans and 1 Democrat for torture. You can see the actual tally of the members of Congress who support torture here."
King votes for keeping torture as a method to be used by the United States to get information. As Chairman of the Homeland Security committee and allegedly well-versed in intelligence matters, King should know that torture leads to more bad information. A person being tortures will say anything to get it to stop.
An authority on torture - because he was tortured for 5 years himself - Senator John McCain has said "Obviously, to defeat our enemies we need intelligence, but intelligence that is reliable. We should not torture or treat inhumanely terrorists we have captured. The abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war effort. In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear—whether it is true or false—if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse. It seems probable to me that the terrorists we interrogate under less than humane standards of treatment are also likely to resort to deceptive answers that are perhaps less provably false than that which I once offered."
"The mistreatment of prisoners harms us more than our enemies. I don't think I'm naive about how terrible are the wages of war, and how terrible are the things that must be done to wage it successfully. It is an awful business, and no matter how noble the cause for which it is fought, no matter how valiant their service, many veterans spend much of their subsequent lives trying to forget not only what was done to them, but some of what had to be done by them to prevail."
Intelligence agency veterans also agree that torture does not work.
Brigadier General David R. Irvine, a retired Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years with the Sixth Army Intelligence School says in his recent article 'Why Torture Doesn't Work', "Exhibit A is the torture-extracted confession of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al Qaeda captive who told the CIA in 2001, having been "rendered" to the tender mercies of Egypt, that Saddam Hussein had trained al Qaeda to use WMD. It appears that this confession was the only information upon which, in late 2002, the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state repeatedly claimed that "credible evidence" supported that claim, even though a now-declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from February 2002 questioned the reliability of the confession because it was likely obtained under torture. In January 2004, al-Libi recanted his "confession," and a month later, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements."
"If there is reliable evidence that torture has, in fact, interrupted ticking time bombs and saved lives, the gravity of the crisis created by the administration's free-wheeling torture policy demands straight answers which can be weighed and evaluated by a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission whose membership might include interrogators, jurists, theologians, national security specialists, military leaders, and political leaders. The damage to our national interests and the dismal record of war candor by this administration has made "trust us" an insufficient justification for such a profound change in American law and moral values."
King likes to use the word "morally wrong" when attacking his opponents. As a Catholic and a human being, King is morally wrong in his support of torture. "Speaking at a College of William and Mary forum last year, for example, Burton L. Gerber, a decorated Moscow station chief who retired in 1995 after 39 years with the CIA, surprised some in the audience when he said he opposes torture "because it corrupts the society that tolerates it."
"The reason I believe that torture corrupts the torturers and society," Gerber says, "is that a standard is changed, and that new standard that's acceptable is less than what our nation should stand for. I think the standards in something like this are crucial to the identity of America as a free and just society."
King ought to stand up and say no to torture. As Chairman and allegedly more powerful, he should add his voice to the anti-torture chorus.
Seems the man King thanks god every day that he is President Bush jumped ship today and agrees with McCain. "Bush said the agreement will "make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad."
"It's a done deal," said McCain, talking to reporters in a driving rain outside the White House after he met with the president."
"Still holding out was Rep. Duncan Hunter (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He said he would try preventing the measure from reaching a House vote unless he got White House assurances that the new rules would still allow "the same high level of effective intelligence gathering" as under current procedures.
The White House at one point threatened a veto if the ban was included in legislation sent to the president's desk, and Vice President
Dick Cheney' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to all Republican senators to give an exemption to the CIA.
But congressional sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of the ban, and McCain, a former Navy pilot who was held and tortured for five and a half years in Vietnam, adopted the issue.
The Republican maverick and the administration have been negotiating for weeks in search of a compromise, but it became increasingly clear that he, not the administration, had the votes in Congress.
Bush called McCain "a good man who's honored the values of America."
"We have worked very closely with the senator and others to achieve that objective as well as to provide protections for those who are the front line of fighting the terrorists," Bush said.
McCain thanked Bush for his personal participation in the negotiations and his effort to resolve their disagreements.
McCain said there are no loopholes in the agreement. The negotiations with the White House produced an agreement to provide to civilian interrogators the same legal defense protections as those afforded military interrogators and to set up a process for legal counsel.