Senate Votes to Ban Waterboarding

By a vote of 51 to 45 today, the Senate voted to ban waterboarding.

The prohibition was contained in a bill authorizing intelligence activities for the current year, which the Senate approved on a 51-45 vote. It would restrict the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method that makes an interrogation subject feel he is drowning.

The House adopted the provision back in December. Bush has threatened to veto the bill.

As I wrote yesterday, Hillary Clinton wrote Bush Monday and urged him to withdraw his veto threat.

Today Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin and other senior Democratic Senators wrote to Bush and called on him to revise his Executive Order on CIA interrogation to comply with our treaty obligations and to prohibit explicitly a number of torture techniques that the Administration has used. The Senators wrote: [More...]

“The failure of the Executive Order to clarify what interrogation techniques the CIA can and cannot lawfully use under Common Article 3 could put U.S. personnel at risk of violating the Geneva Conventions and of being subjected to abusive treatment if detained by enemy forces. We urge you to revise the Executive Order to comply with the plain language of Common Article 3.”

Other signatories are Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden, Senator Ted Kennedy, and the three “crossover” members of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Russ Feingold, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

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    And McCain voted against the ban (none / 0) (#1)
    by robrecht on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 11:48:32 PM EST
    Remember when McCain was opposed to torture before he was for it?  Link

    Bait and switch (none / 0) (#3)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 12:00:28 AM EST
    A number of times he gives these speeches against something then inevitably votes for it. What is left in the vapors is that he was against it. Truly disgusting.

    Or maybe he just forgot his earlier position? (none / 0) (#4)
    by robrecht on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 01:18:29 AM EST
    Kevin Drum (none / 0) (#5)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 08:51:05 AM EST
    quoting Joe Klien

    I attended Frank Luntz's dial group of 30 undecided -- or sort of undecided -- Republicans in St. Petersburg, Florida, last night...and it was a fairly astonishing evening. Now, for the uninitiated: dials are little hand-held machines that enable a focus group member to register instantaneous approval or disapproval as the watch a candidate on TV.
    ....When John McCain started talking about torture -- specifically, about waterboarding -- the dials plummeted again....Down to the low 20s, which, given the natural averaging of a focus group, is about as low as you can go. Afterwards, Luntz asked the group why they seemed to be in favor of torture. "I don't have any problem pouring water on the face of a man who killed 3000 Americans on 9/11," said John Shevlin, a retired federal law enforcement officer. The group applauded, appallingly.

    These are the voters McCain needs now, and these voters don't want a president who opposes state sanctioned torture of captive prisoners. So McCain doesn't oppose it anymore. Any questions?

    McCain's now flipflopped saying he IS for torture (none / 0) (#2)
    by Nowonmai on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 12:00:19 AM EST
    So, I am sure is going to vote against this ban. Here's hoping he and his pro-torture buddies are outvoted, and sanity prevails for this form of torture to well and truly banned.

    Know Your Rights...... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 10:32:46 AM EST
    Number 1
    You have the right not to be killed
    Murder is a CRIME!
    Unless it was done by a
    Policeman or aristocrat
    Know your rights

    - The Clash

    I thought of the Clash classic because even if the Senate is able to pass a ban on torture, don't believe for a second such a ban would apply to the CIA.  They'd somehow use it to prosecute you for setting up a "Slip-n-Slide" in your yard during the summer, they'd never apply it to one of their henchmen.

    Know these rights

    Number 3
    You have the right to free
    Speech as long as you're not
    Dumb enough to actually try it.

    Here's McCain's explanation (none / 0) (#7)
    by robrecht on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 07:03:42 PM EST

    Cliff's Notes: Still opposes torture, and this bill 'cause he interprets the current law to already say waterboarding is illegal.  He sort of just wishes that the administration would say that they agree with his interpretation even though he complains that they don't.