Tuesday, October 11, 2005

On priorities

Okay, so 46 Republicans, 43 Democrats and one independent decided on Wednesday that torturing detainees really is a bad idea after all. The fight for the bill was led by Senator John McCain, who, for you Amish rumschpringers enjoying Internet access for the first time, learned all about torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and decided that he didn't like it even a little bit. Frankly, anyone who feels up to questioning McCain's anti-torture credentials needs to take a pill (yes, I'm talking to you, Houston Conservative.)

Wait, though - 90 to 9 is hardly a fight, right? With the exception of those nine senators (Allard, R-CO; Bond, R-MO; Coburn, R-OK; Cochran, R-MS; Cornyn, R-TX; Inhofe R-OK; Roberts, R-KS; Sessions, R-AL; Stevens, R-AK; if your senator is on the list, you might just live in a pro-torture state!), who were overwhelmingly defeated in the vote anyway, who could possibly stand in the way of this bill's passage? Who would want to?

Ohhhhh, right.

Yeah, our president has promised to veto the $440 billion dollar military spending bill that has the anti-torture provisions attached. Now, I'm not crazy about the price of the war in Iraq, in terms of money ($200 billion and climbing) or human lives (2,154 coalition troops, 27,000-ish civilians, and climbing), but I'm a reasonable person and I recognize that if the government isn't going to bring the troops home any time soon, money will have to be spent to keep them fed, sheltered, armed and armored.

So let me give it to you in small words that 37% of Americans can understand: President Bush is willing to keep $400 billion from our troops so that when someone sticks a chemlight up a detainee's ass, no one can object.

Break it down, now: Senators on both sides of the aisle said no to torture and yes to funding the troops, but President Bush said no to funding and yes to waterboarding.

Bring it on home: 91% of sitting senators say that limits should be placed on interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists, but 100% of sitting presidents say that our troops don't need body armor as much as they need the therapeutic relief of breaking some Iraqi kneecaps.

He's a war president, after all.

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