The end of the straight talk express, renamed flip-flop express

Apparently as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, John McCain’s straight express got derailed by political expediency.  Having the distinction as probably the only Member of Congress who was a victim of torture, John McCain in the past has led on making sure the US stands by it legal obligations to not torture as we are bound by treaties we have signed.

Unfortunately, now that he is the likely Republican candidate, he must be tougher, and tougher means that we can’t tie the hands of the CIA when it comes to interrogation.

Arianna Huffington does a really nice job at Huffington Post, so if you want to read it, go here.  Below you will find a snippet.

What’s more, McCain said he voted against the bill because it would be a mistake to “tie the CIA to the Army Field Manual” — a Manual he gave a ringing endorsement to in a November debate: “I just came back from visiting a prison in Iraq. The army general there said that techniques under the Army Field Manual are working and working effectively, and he didn’t think they need to do anything else. My friends, this is what America is all about.”

For Minnesota voters, the Army Field Manual  seems to be the standard Republican excuse for opposing this bill, as Senator Norm Coleman demonstrates with his Letter of the Day in the Strib on February 12th.

However, I do not agree with the provision in the Intelligence Bill that seeks to apply the Army Field Manual to the CIA. The Army Field Manual was written for military agents facing military scenarios. Simply put, the CIA is not the Army and it operates under very different circumstances. Requiring the CIA to adhere to the requirements of the Army carries with it a host of implications that go far beyond the issue of waterboarding.

The debate over this legislation is not about waterboarding. I agree the CIA should not waterboard, and I’m relieved that it isn’t done anymore. The question is whether the Army Field Manual is the appropriate handbook for the CIA — and on that point I disagree.

Maybe Norm will get a truth squad to speak out against Senator McCain’s flip-flops, the travel costs will be cheap, after St Paul is hosting the RNC this summer.



1 Comment

  1. February 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    It seems that you and I are in agreement on this! I wrote a piece that is very similar- here is the link

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