The WaPo sums up the general consensus, in a post titled The Abuse Can Continue:
THE GOOD NEWS about the agreement reached yesterday between the Bush administration and Republican senators on the detention, interrogation and trial of accused terrorists is that Congress will not — as President Bush had demanded — pass legislation that formally reinterprets U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Nor will the Senate explicitly endorse the administration’s use of interrogation techniques that most of the world regards as cruel and inhumane, if not as outright torture. Trials of accused terrorists will be fairer than the commission system outlawed in June by the Supreme Court.
The bad news is that Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects. He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation. Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts. The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes.
In short, it’s hard to credit the statement by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) yesterday that “there’s no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved.” In effect, the agreement means that U.S. violations of international human rights law can continue as long as Mr. Bush is president, with Congress’s tacit assent. If they do, America’s standing in the world will continue to suffer, as will the fight against terrorism.
It is hard to think of this as a compromise, unless your idea of a compromise is being asked by your child for a million dollars, telling them no, and then agreeing to give them $998,000. Remember this week when, in a few years, our boys andgirls are overseas facing ‘tough interrogation methods’ and jackasses like the loudmouth pro-torture lobby in the right-wing blogosphere are blubbering about human rights and the Geneva Convention. No wonder they are, in many cases, the same folks who want to proselytize in the military- our servicemembers are going to have hell to pay in the future and will need someone to pray to as they are being waterboarded, beaten (but it doesn’t leave marks!), and dipped in vats of icy cold water after days/weeks with no sleep and no access to counsel.
And that only scratches the surface of what this ‘compromise’ is going to do. No worries- we can beat ‘suspected’ terrorists into submission, and they will tell us of their plots to use dirty bombs on the Omaha American Legion ahead of time. Red State America is safe, and even if we were wrong about the terrorists and tortured the wrong person and they only confessed to non-existent plots after hours of abuse, we have made sure they can’t do anything about it, so we won’t have to hear about the messy details anyway. Self-governance and responsibility are, apparently, much like parts of the Geneva Conventions, ‘quaint ideas.’ I am sure you all are as thrilled as I am that we can now rely on the judgement of our current President when it comes to important matters such as this.
The only upside to this ‘compromise’ is that I no longer have to listen to the catcalls of degenerate fools claiming my opposition to torture and rewriting/ignoring the Geneva Conventions is simply an attempt to achieve moral superiority. Apparently these hubristic louts think that opposition to acts that violate basic human decency somehow makes me ‘morally superior.’ I thought it made me ‘normal’ and ‘sane’ and, until the past few years, ‘American.’ Given the brazen cheerleading of the pro-torture crowd in the past few years, it appears I was wrong. Wanting a nation that does not officially condone and engage in wanton acts of violence and torture apparently does make me morally superior. That is a shame.
So, in closing, it is torture they wanted, and it is torture they will get. Given the current domination in Washington of what I have now come to realize (too late to do much about it, I regret) is the ignorance party, there is little we can do about it. I do, however, intend to engage in a little recreational torture myself- I plan to waterboard these jerks at the polls in 2006, again in 2008, and for as long as I can see until there are some basic and systemic changes to the way our government and the now morally bankrupt Republican party operate. And if I am wrong about my choices at the polls, I will just have to take solace in the fact that I, like the President, will remain unaccountable for my mistakes. I can just roll my eyes, feign ignorance, and state that ‘No one ever expected that the Democrats would be worse.’