Have You Hugged Your Terrorist Today?

Saturday, October 08, 2005
It's OK if you haven't. Sen. John McCain (J)erk, AZ did it for you:


[Full Text of Amendment

Pertinent Clause:

(d) Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Defined.--In this section, the term ``cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment'' means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.

Here is Sen McCain's stirring oratory in support of the specious amendment.

Take a minute and read it all. Having done so, imagine yourself a field interrogator with the amendment in hand, preparing to conduct an interrogation. You are well versed in interrogation techniques as described in the United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation and it has not been changed but you now have a new set of standards that extends the rights of American citizens to the terrorist scum smirking before you. Rights that are always open to interpretation by civilian courts and rights that have been extended to the terrorist scum everywhere in the world.

Did your job just get easier or harder? The Field Manual didn't change but does the Field Manual comply with all interpretations made by various Federal Courts concerning the amendments listed? Getting information from the terrorist may save lives but putting pressure on him may get you a court martial. Now where did you put your kid gloves?

This is a bad amendment. It is micromanagement by the legislature of an area where the Executive should have great discretionary latitude. It's very proposal is a political gesture showing disrespect both for the Executive and for the military's current performance of its duties. It is political grandstanding at its most base, seeking affirmative pats on the head from the very media which has grossly exagerated isolated instances of alleged mistreatment in order to further an agenda that can only be described as antithetical to the successful prosecution of a necessary and justified war.

John McCain has proven to be a meretricious buffoon since being elected to the Senate and this piece of puerile demagoguery is further evidence of that fact. The amendment obfuscates rather than clarifies and will make our forces in the field's work harder rather than easier.

We don't hire pols to make life sweeter for terrorists and tougher for our soldiers.


terrye said...

I agree that McCain is a media darling, but then again we are always cmomlaining that Bush is not more responsive to someone or other.

Maybe this is why.

I don't know if his time as a POW sent him over the edge or what, but these terrorists can get copies of these manuals. They know what these guys can and can't do to them from the time they are taken.

We will see the battlefield version of "You can't touch me I know my rights".

And the first time it becomes apparent that people died because of it, it will be the military's fault.

you just wait and see.

This will be as positive a piece of legislation as the McCain Feingold bill was.

BTW, he is beating Hillary in the polls in a two way match up so guess where this thing is going and who it is intended for.

Syl said...


Says it all.

I guess we have to stop calling terrorists evil.

David Thomson said...

I am forced to sound like a broken record: we have the MSM to blame for this nonsense. They dominate the agenda in this country. This foolish bit of legislation should have never seen the light the day. Our elected officials are terrified that they will be accused of condoning torture.

Knucklehead said...

The anti-outsourcing folks aren't going to like the effects of this one bit.

vnjagvet said...

Priceless, Knuck.

Is this simply windowdressing? It seems to me that this is what the law is already. For example, if someone was being prosecuted for mistreatment of prisoners under existing law, the manuals would be offered to show the standards binding on the accused. So would, I believe, the UN Convention as implemented by the US reservations, etc. This law would generally be part of the instructions given to the jury trying the accused.

What I fail to understand is what this adds to the current law.

Knucklehead said...


It just adds, as Rick noted, an additional level of legal uncertainty for those we task with actually doing the job.

For the bufoon(s) who sponsored it and voted for it, it adds another line to the "Cares About" section of their resumes and allows them to splat gunk upon those who (I presume there were some) who voted against it as "Doesn't care about torture and the United States international reputation or the plight of the unfortunate."

Is McCain capable of thinking about what he does or does he just do stuff?

vnjagvet said...

This is strictly for the press. I doubt it will have any impact on the guys in the field.

The reasons:

DOD and all of the military legal staffs have been extremely sensitive about this stuff since the Abu G pics were published. Believe me, they have done their homework since then.

All of the hoopla surrounding Gitmo this past summer has had its effect as well.

This Senatorial action is only prospective in its application.

All in all, the legal equivalent of closing the barn door after the horses have left.

Rick Ballard said...


From the "United States Reservations":

"(1) That the United States considers itself bound by the obligation under article 16 to prevent `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment', only insofar as the term `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

Just slightly circular, no? Political posturing at its very cheapest.

I agree with you for the most part concerning the various JAGs being up to speed on this. At the field level it does add another layer of fog for the new fellas to try and see thru.

I don't think that it would even truly affect rendition. Where's the UN list of countries that meet the "where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture" standard?

Full text of US reservations here

vnjagvet said...


What it all boils down to in plain language is that the USA agreed to the UN language only to the extent it was consistent with existing US law, as interpreted by US Courts.

By definition, then, the Senate Res's incorporation of the UN Resolution adds nothing to existing US law.

David Thomson said...

“By definition, then, the Senate Res's incorporation of the UN Resolution adds nothing to existing US law.”

This might be right in a de jure sense. However, the de facto result is likely to further endanger our lives.

terrye said...

Who decides what is degrading?

To some of these guys even having to talk to a woman is degrading.

Especially if she is wearing a thong and a miniskirt.

Rick Ballard said...


Until I dug up the language of the US Reservations to the cited UN treaty I was concerned about another layer of uncertainty being added to our soldiers lives by headline grabbing pols.

Having read through the whole circular thing and read Vnjagvets take it becomes obvious that this three card monte trick was designed to do precisely nothing - with great fanfare. I need to add mendacious to the description of McCain being a meretricious buffoon.

It's good enough to fool the idiots in the press, though.

Knucklehead said...


You've illustrated the concept of weltanschauung like Barry Bonds swinging a 36 oz. cluebat.

"Now hang on there a second, Achmed. What exactly is it you find 'degrading' about the interrogation you received?"

"It was conducted, in part, by that woman over there!"

"What, specifically, did she do that was degrading to you?"

"She wore a tight fitting t-shirt and fatigue pants."

"Hmmm... Achmed, I'll grant you that she's not Playmate of the Year material there but she's no Maddy Albright either. And you've also complained that the interrogation room was chilly. Wouldn't that have made the situation, ummm..., better?"