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Friday, December 30, 2005

Bush sidesteps McCain amendment

Despite strong opposition from the Bush Administration, late last year, congress voted 90-9 in favour of an amendment to prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody.

Shortly after signing the legislation into law today, Bush will email out an accompanying "signing statement". Specifically, the statement will say that the administration would interpret the amendment "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the president to supervise the unitary executive branch and as commander in chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on judicial power." Democrats and some Republicans say assert that this implies that he could ignore the law if he wished.

Senator McCain, sponsor of the amendment, issued a strong statement rejecting Mr. Bush's assertion, even as the White House has repeatedly declined to say what the president meant. These actions will be met with cynicism by commenters (e.g. cartoon below).


Ted Rall cartoon in response to today's events.

(Sources: International Herald Tribune, New York Times. Hat tip to Bush Out and to Ted Rall.)

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