See, Bush had wanted to rewrite Article III of the Geneva Conventions so he could apply a shifting definition of torture in questioning prisoners taken by his regime. He also wanted to make sure prisoners could be "tried" in kangaroo court proceedings using secret evidence, and denied habeus corpus. But three Republican Senators, including John McCain of Arizona who spent six years being tortured as a prisoner of the Viet Cong, objected to redefining torture. The last week and a half saw Bush whining and stamping his feet spewing obscenities including, "it's unacceptable -- unacceptable! -- to think..." So they got a "compromise" bill that essentially gives Bush what he wants without looking on the surface as if it's giving him what he wants. According to Washington Post blogger Dan Froomkin, quoting from the New York Times:
Neil A. Lewis and Kate Zernike write in the New York Times: "Although the effort has been partly obscured by the highly publicized wrangling over military commissions for war crimes trials, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress are trying to use the same legislation to strip federal courts of their authority to review the detentions of almost all terrorism suspects."Both the legislation introduced on behalf of the administration and the competing bill sponsored by a group of largely Republican opponents in the Senate include a provision that would bar foreigners held abroad from using the federal trial courts for challenges to detention known as habeas corpus lawsuits. If the provision was enacted, it would mean that all of the lawsuits brought in federal court by about 430 detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, would be wiped from the books.
Bob Herbert writes in his New York Times opinion column (subscription required): "Habeas corpus (literally 'produce the body') is a legal proceeding that allows one to challenge his or her detention in a court of law. It is the most significant safeguard against arbitrary imprisonment. Someone deprived of this right -- which is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and has been recognized by various societies all the way back to the Middle Ages -- can be locked up, whether innocent or guilty of any offense, and never heard from again."
That's not all.
In Iraq, torture is now being reported under U.S. occupation as being actually worse than it was under Saddam Hussein according to the United Nations' chief anti-torture expert. In what kind of sick and twisted world are we living in where a country occupied by the U.S. is suffering torture that is worse than it was under its previous government?
The UN report says detainees' bodies often show signs of beating using electrical cables, wounds in heads and genitals, broken legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns.
Bodies found at the Baghdad mortuary "often bear signs of severe torture including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances".
Many bodies have missing skin, broken bones, back, hands and legs, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails, the UN report says.
Victims come from prisons run by US-led multinational forces as well as by the ministries of interior and defence and private militias, the report said.
That is fucked up in the extreme. Even as torture of prisoners in Iraq under the U.S. occupation grows worse than it was under Saddam Hussein we are given a choice between two evils (with the sick joke being that the only virtue in one is that it isn't quite as bad as the other), and that is how we will deny even basic human rights to prisoners.
It's enough to make a true American patriot puke.
EDIT (September 22):
I just found out the new "compromise" legislation agreed to by McCain and the non-rebels in the GOP actually allows Bush to determine what constitutes torture. Which means McCain, who spent six years being tortured as a POW by his captors in Viet Nam, obviously didn't learn a damned thing except how to bend over for George W. Bush. I wonder if McCain can describe what the Shrub's semen tastes like? Because he just got done sucking his dick over this torture bill.