Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Geneva

We've been "noticably silent" according to some emailers on the big topic of the week for Presidential hopefuls. McCain and the Geneva convention. Well that's intentional, because this is a complicated issue and we like to keep the posts short. So those of you that like your blogging brief, feel free to scroll right past this one.

There is one thing that's for certain, politically this hasn't helped McCain with the far right, the King segment of the party. They see this as another opportunity to take him to task. The bad part for the McCain camp is that these are the people he needs to be mending fences with. Amongst I's, we'd imagine McCain is continuing to build on his already high popularity- but he's going to have to get over his biggest hurdle- the Republican Primary schedule- before he can visit with them. You can see the animosity building in the blogosphere from the "freepers" and Red State folks who have been merciless in attacking McCain. Here's clips from a conservative column by Frank Gaffney Jr.

Worse yet, these Senators – John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham – are not only encouraging their fellow Republicans to join them in breaking with President Bush. They are also giving political cover to Democrats gleeful at the chance to conceal their readiness to do the wrong thing on national security by lining up behind McCain and Company, whose number includes former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

We need to remove the sanctimony from this debate. Reasonable people can come to different conclusions about the extent of the rights that should be enjoyed by people believed to be among the most dangerous Islamofascist terrorists on the planet. Those who recognize the importance of neither compromising classified information – and the sources and methods by which it is obtained – nor making inevitable the unwarranted release of such individuals are not indifferent to human rights. Those who appreciate the need to use methods of interrogation more aggressive than those employed at Gitmo are not in favor of torture.

The giving cover to the Democrats argument seems to be where Gaffney gets the most steam. But the interesting thing is not that McCain's side of this argument has its merits- but that he is committed to telling it. He was on CBS News with Katie Couric, said that he'd be willing to sacrifice the Presidency (if nothing else, on this issue you can't doubt the man's sincerity), and most interestingly penned an op-ed in the Manchester (New Hampshire) Union-Journal. If you read his language and listen to his point of view, you can't help but draw comparisons to the rhetoric Bush used following 9-11. And we would think that those who do not already have a side in this argument, might think differently if they heard directly from McCain. Clearly that's Straight Talk's strategy. Take a look for yourself at McCain's argument-.

Our war against Islamic terrorists is a new kind of war. Our enemies are stateless; they reside in many countries, even, we assume, within the borders of our own country. They kill combatants and non-combatants alike with savage cruelty and take a truly evil delight in crossing all civilized boundaries governing the conduct of war. All wars are a miserable business, and this one is particularly so. That is why I believe we must prosecute it as rapidly as we can and as violently as we must.

History will vindicate us, even though many of us will no longer be around to read it. And when history records our victory may it also celebrate the fact that we fought an enemy who believed our values made us weak and discovered in the end that our faithfulness to our values was as important to their defeat as was the strength and courage of our armed forces.

Fighting for our security alone makes this fight just. Fighting for the security of other nations as well makes it generous. Fighting for the ascendancy in the world of our values makes it noble. That is the burden and the honor history has offered us. So let us take care, just as we take care to minimize civilian casualties while our enemies deliberately kill the innocent, not to provide our critics with an excuse to doubt how seriously we take our obligations to abide by our values even in times of war, no matter how cruel, difficult or unusual that war.

Rather than redefine the Geneva Conventions, we would spell out in U.S. law and in clear terms what constitutes a “grave breach” of Article Three so that no judge could decide, for instance, that a female interrogating a Muslim male is a war crime. Only truly grave offenses would rise to that level, and as long as the program stayed within the bounds of the legislation passed last year, no American could be sued or prosecuted for doing his or her duty.

I am confident that we can reach an agreement with the President that satisfies our mutual determination to win this war because of our values, not despite them. No one intends to grant terrorists all the rights accorded Americans or lawful combatants. No one will read them their Miranda rights. We intend only to recognize their most basic human rights. They don’t deserve it, and they surely would never grant them to us. But it will help us win this war, and it will reflect great credit on the United States, the most honorable nation on earth.

The man has a unique perspective on the argument- that's for sure. The question is, how's it going to affect his bid at the Presidency.

13 Comments:

Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

Wow that was longer than we thought! We'll be back to our pithy selves with the next post.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

It kind of says something about the level of discourse in the blogosphere when posts about candidates racist comments and Mitt Romney's religion turn into 50 comment free for alls, and a topic with some depth gets completely ignored.

We are hearing you (or not hearing you) loud and clear cooler minions.

Back to cheeky observations after this...

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cooler: thanks for the post, it's good. It's a sticky issue all the way around. Certainly cuts against McCain with some, but reinforces what is unique about him with others.

The net effect will not help him with caucus attendees who simply don't care whom we offend. When the Pope can make a comment designed only to amplify the debate, and the radical Islamic response is burning in effigy and shooting nuns in the back, people just aren't going to worry about how aggressive our interrogation tactics are. After all, we're not beheading them.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard to argue with an American hero like McCain on torture.

11:43 AM  
Blogger smartchick2008 said...

Yes. It would be hard to argue with John McCain about torture. Except that's NOT what this debate is about. It's about definitions and clarifications on a document that was ratified in 1949. It's about our guys on the front lines who want to know what the rules are when it comes to what is and is not acceptable. And it's about making sure that we continue to get the kind of information that has stopped additional attacks against this country.

John McCain is a war hero and I respect his service to this country. But this isn't about John McCain. It's about the men and women who are fighting a new kind of war and a war where what we thought about fighting before doesn't apply.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smartchick-
So, now that we're in a "new kind of war", torturing our enemies is ok?

"Fighting for the ascendancy in the world of our values makes it noble."

1:12 PM  
Blogger smartchick2008 said...

I said nothing about torture. That's that fallacy of what is being argued. I'm not for torture, which is why I believe we need to have clear rules as to what is and is not acceptable -- or to use the words of the Geneva Convention "humiliating treatment."

Let me as you how you define humiliating treatment? Is it putting somone in solitary confinement? How about playing loud rock music? Or having a woman interrogate a man? I wouldn't categorize these as torture, but these techniques have been deemed "humiliating" by European and international courts.

And yes, this is a "new" kind of war. Our enemies don't wear uniforms, they don't ally themselves with a country, and they hide among women and children -- that's why they are enemy combatants and not POWs. It's a new challenge and deserves a look at a Convention we signed in 1949 when we knew who the enemy was. We don't anymore.

I want the current interrogation program to continue because it's had demonstrable success in ensuring that you and I aren't blown off the face of the earth, which is what our enemies want to do to us. And I believe the men and women who are on the front lines deserve to know what the rules are so that they don't have to take out insurance policies anymore.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Yoda said...

Hmmmm... yea, what she said!

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smartchick has basically raken mccains position in an effort to criticise him. Read his op-ed. That's what mccain is saying!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous The Kevorka said...

The Kevorka favors torture!!!

7:44 PM  
Blogger Krustette said...

ditto what Yoda said!!!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Yoda said...

Hmmmm... Ditto what Yodette, I mean Krustette said.....

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the definition of a war hero? It seems to me that if you simply served you are a war hero by media standards (Kerry, Murtha and that annoying quadriplegic from that southern state who injured himself!). What did McCain do that warrants HERO status? I really don't know other than he was a POW. I don't see how being a POW (victim) automatically makes you a war hero. Also, just because you were a POW and suffered torture, does not make what you say about it infallible and not subject to debate. It give you a basis to have an opinion on the subject, but, that's it.

5:37 PM  

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