Back in my undergraduate days, I wrote a research paper (25 pages, 125+ footnotes) analyzing how the NY Times reported on the Guantanamo Bay detainee camp. I made three conclusions:
- The Times reported the events at the camp thoroughly, compared to other media.
- The Times provided a clearly disapproving stance in its editorials.
- The treatment of detainees at the camp were below Geneva Convention standards and reflected poorly upon U.S. militia.
Finally, senators are uniting to address that third, most-important conclusion. Arizona Senator John McCain spearheaded a bill regulating the detention, interrogation and treatment of prisoners held by U.S. military, hopefully preventing a future Abu Ghraib and restricting questionable tactics at detainee camps like Guantanamo. Forty-six Republicans and 43 Democrats voted to pass the legislation 90 to 9 yesterday.
The bill was also endorsed by more than two dozen retired senior military officers, including Colin Powell.
McCain, a famous Vietnam prisoner of war, emphasized the need for the U.S. to raise its standards of war above other countries in a closing statement on the senate floor:
"Many of my comrades were subjected to very cruel, very inhumane and degrading treatment, a few of them even unto death. But every one of us - every single one of us - knew and took great strength from the belief that we were different from our enemies."
This bipartisan effort is a major blow to the White House, which released a statement saying the bill threatens to "restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bringing terrorists to justice." I don’t know that interrogations have anything to do with the president directly, but, nevertheless, W. threatens to veto.
W. is scheduled to brief the nation today about our escapades in the Middle East. He’ll basically reinforce the same message: “Stay the course.”