Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt


Richard Moore

It is good to see Congress beginning to have some backbone,
re/ neocons.



Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt

London Telegraph | October 7 2005
By Francis Harris

The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation
banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an
overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist

The mutiny was the latest setback for an administration facing
an increasingly independent and bloody-minded legislature. But
it also marked a key moment in Congress's campaign to curtail
the huge powers it has granted the White House since 2001 in
its war against terrorism.

The late-night Senate vote saw the measure forbidding torture
passed by 90 to nine, with most Republicans backing the
measure. Most senators said the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and
similar allegations at the Guantanamo Bay prison rendered the
result a foregone conclusion.

The administration's extraordinary isolation was underlined
when the Senate Republican majority leader, Bill Frist,
supported the amendment.

The man behind the legislation, Republican Senator John
McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner in Vietnam, said the
move was backed by American soldiers. His amendment would
prohibit the "cruel, inhumane or degrading" treatment of
prisoners in the custody of America's defence department.

The vote was one of the largest and best supported
congressional revolts during President George W Bush's five
years in office and shocked the White House.

"We have put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying
that his advisers would recommend that he vetoes it if it
contains such language," White House spokesman Scott McClellan
warned yesterday.

The administration said Congress was attempting to tie its
hands in the war against terrorism.

The veto would be Mr Bush's first use of his most extreme
legislative option. But senators pointed out that a
presidential veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority
in both houses.

For now the amendment's fate depends on negotiations between
the Senate and the lower chamber, the House of
Representatives, which is more loyal to the administration.

But senators said they were confident that most of the
language would survive and that the issue could pose an
extremely awkward dilemma for the president.

The amendment was attached to the $440 billion (£247 billion)
defence spending bill and if Mr Bush vetoes the amendment, he
would have to veto the entire bill.

That would leave America's armed forces in Iraq and
Afghanistan short of cash as early as the middle of next month


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