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And they call the French "surrender monkeys"?
When Republicans Cut and Run
Monkey Trials After All

The Republican “rebels” have surrendered. What’s being described as a “compromise” on Bush’s junta-like proposal to try terrorism suspects is nothing but face-saving on the part of John McCain and the two other Republicans who, briefly, looked as if they might keep the administration and Congress from enacting a measure legalizing torture, gulags and kangaroo trials where basic rules of evidence don’t apply. Thursday evening every major paper carried the story under banner headlines of a deal being struck. But the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times all stuttered and fawned through their first six, seven, eight paragraphs, giving no analytical substance to the report but taking dictation from McCain and Stephen Hadley, the administration’s national security adviser: there is a deal; it just isn’t clear what the deal entails. Not only are terrorism suspects being denied the evidence against them. But now Americans are being denied the information that makes up their laws.

The New York Times story skips substantial explanations altogether. The LATimes has this, about eight paragraphs down: “the deal struck today would fall short of letting suspects themselves see the evidence against them. Instead, a judge advocate general would be appointed to review the evidence on their behalf and to cross-examine the witnesses who presented it. All this would be done in the absence of the suspect. The safeguards accepted by the senators against torturing suspects and witnesses to secure evidence were said to be in accord with the Geneva Convention.” In other words: the most egregious Bush provisions stand: suspects may be kept away from their own trial; suspects may be denied access to the evidence against them.

And as for those Geneva Convention protections, the way Bush interprets them means that unless Congress specifically and explicitly bans certain interrogation methods while spelling out limits and allowances, in law, we’re no more advanced today than we were before the Supreme Court ruled all these shenanigans illegal. Besides: Bush can torture all he wants with a mere scribble of the pen. One other sham stands: Bush’s network of secret CIA prisons remain legal, as does his network of somewhat less secret but nevertheless law-unabiding prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain, Warner and Graham, the three allegedly “maverick” senators standing up to Bush in the name of law and human rights, did more than fold. They cut and ran.

Did you know, incidentally, that this is Constitution Week—by presidential proclamation?

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