So we "formally" leave Geneva alone, but grant the executive branch complete discretion in determining what "cruel" means; and the language of the bill certainly can be construed to allow waterboarding, hypothermia, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and long-time standing. It even allows for a person to be beaten, cut, or near-drowned. It's important to note that McCain does not believe that this is the case. He believes that the definition of "cruel" here would bar such "alternative methods". But we know from bitter experience that in any ambiguity, this administration has opted for the more draconian interpretation. So therefore all of these techniques, described in detail in Solzheniytsen's "Gulag Archipelago," potentially remain available to this president under this proposal. Barring further clarifications confirming McCain's belief that this bill bars these "alternative methods", I see no legal barrier in this bill to his continuing to authorize them in the future.
Andrew Sullivan 9/22/2006
Andrew has been McCain's greatest backer. He is clearly upset. As am I. This is a political tragedy.
I have nowhere near the number of readers, but you are are politically diverse. Here is an issue where I am not gay nor socialist: I am Catholic. Can you imagine ANY circumstance in which Jesus of Nazerath would water-board somebody?