The L.A. Times has a rather unique view of the compromise on torture: Bush caved and the McCain faction won. I laughed out loud when I saw that this morning. Because this view seems to be shared by almost nobody else.
The L.A. Times article is the lead story in today’s paper. It is titled Bush Bows to Senators on Detainees. It opens:
President Bush acceded to dissident Senate Republicans on Thursday, agreeing to new rules for interrogating and prosecuting suspected terrorists that leave intact international treaty protections against torture.
In a major concession to Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Republicans, the administration dropped its efforts to have Congress redefine U.S. obligations under the Geneva Convention. The compromise bill in effect bans the most controversial CIA interrogation tactics, including water boarding, a form of simulated drowning, said those involved in the negotiations.
Message: Bush lost.
Anyone out there agree?
The New York Times has an editorial titled A Bad Bargain:
Less than an hour after an agreement was announced yesterday with three leading Republican senators, the White House was already laying a path to wiggle out of its one real concession.
The Washington Post says The Abuse Can Continue:
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.
Marty Lederman, who opposes Bush’s methods, has a post titled Senators Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory: U.S. to be First Nation to Authorize Violations of Geneva. He has another post that puts the word “compromise” in sneer quotes: “Three of the Most Significant Problems with the ‘Compromise.'” Glenn Greenwald has a post titled America to legalize torture, and writes:
I have a plea (directed to myself as much as anyone) to declare dead — forever — the Myth of the Independent, Dissident Republican Senator and bury it in a coffin deep in the ground where it belongs. At this point, I think encountering the Lochness Monster is more likely than finding a genuinely independent Republican Senator willing to impose meaningful limits of any kind on the President.
And Kevin Drum says: “at this point it looks like the three Republican ‘moderates’ gave in completely.”
I wonder if the L.A. Times will have occasion in coming days to revisit its view of the compromise as Bush “bow[ing] to,” “acced[ing] to,” and making a “major concession” to the McCain crew.
Because that view seems to be rather . . . unique.