Friday, September 22, 2006

The Only "Compromise" Was That of Our Values

Depending where you look on the internet, the coverage varies about the supposed "compromise" on torture agreed to between the pretend "Conscience Republicans" (McCain, Graham and Warner) and the President.

The LA TImes would have you believe that Sir John McCain the Shining Knight stood up and defeated the President on the great issue of our times. Salvaging the reputation and good name of America...
Bush Bows to Senators on Detainees
The White House agrees to new rules banning the most controversial CIA tactics but allowing a secret interrogation program to continue.

WASHINGTON — 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...

Except that is hardly the case. See Glenn Greenwald, John Cole, Kevin Drum and Steve Benen to find out how this "compromise" is really a 99% capitulation to Bush.

While much of the outrage from the left is levelled at McCain and the knuckling under of the Republican Senators—and make no mistake, they deserve it, especially McCain, who after the last Torture legislation was gutted, should have known the score here—my ire is for my own Party for essentially sitting this one out. One quote runs through my head on this (well, another one about fiddling and Rome burning, too, but this one is better)...

“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

The fact that the Democrats have been content to stick their heads in the sand on this for purely political risk calculations is just as disgusting and discouraging. Had they actually come out with a strong position on this, they would able to call this “compromise” out for the bullshit that it is. Since they made a political decision to wait out the debate instead of doing what was right, they can kindly shut the fuck up about it.

The great Charlie Pierce says it better than I ever could [emphasis mine]:

The national Democratic Party is no longer worth the cement needed to sink it to the bottom of the sea. For an entire week, it allowed a debate on changing the soul of the country to be conducted intramurally between the Torture Porn and Useful Idiot wings of the Republican Party.

[...] And the Democratic Party was nowhere in this debate. It contributed nothing. On the question of whether or not the United States will reconfigure itself as a nation which tortures its purported enemies and then grants itself absolution through adjectives—“Aggressive interrogation techniques”—the Democratic Party had…no opinion.

[...] This was as tactically idiotic as it was morally blind. On the subject of what kind of a nation we are, and to what extent we will live up to the best of our ideals, the Democratic Party was as mute and neutral as a stone. Human rights no longer have a viable political constituency in the United States of America. Be enough of a coward, though, and cable news will fit you for a toga.

The Democrats were content to sit by as three Senators and one President sold out the nation. Nice job.

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