No one can call Sens. John Warner, R-Va., Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham (news, bio, voting record), R-S.C., soft on anything, much less terrorism. They constitute the Republican leadership of the
Senate Armed Services Committee. All three have worn the uniform of our country. One, John McCain, spent long years in the hands of America's enemies as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton.
The Bush White House is doing all that it can to stop this legislation from passing. Vice President Dick Cheney took the three senators to the wood shed and told them that their law would tie President Bush's hands in the war against terrorism. His bombast carried no weight with the three senators.
On the floor of the Senate, before everyone left on vacation, Sen. Jeff Sessions (news, bio, voting record), R-Ala., sounded the administration line: There is no need for this legislation because we are not dealing with prisoners of war but "terrorists."
John McCain stood up and responded that the debate was not "about who they are. It's about who we are." We are Americans, the senator said, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard than those who slaughter the innocent in Iraq or Afghanistan, or in London or on 9/11 here at home....
.... Please repeat after the good senator who knows about prisons and the torture of helpless human beings:
This is not about who they are. This is about who we are. We are Americans and we hold ourselves to a higher standard of conduct. And, no, the end does not justify the means. Not now. Not ever, when the means include torturing prisoners.
Great column, including more damning evidence that the use of torture came from the top.