Wary of Cheney, senators circle Guantánamo in a holding pattern
This is what I call a real compromise: We’ll strip our “detainees” of only some of their humanity. In exchange, we’ll agree to strip them of only some of their rights.
In a sense, that’s what the Senate decided to do yesterday. The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Weisman described the captivating drama in more sophisticated terms this morning:
The compromise links legislation written by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), which would deny detainees broad access to federal courts, with a new measure authored by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) that would grant detainees the right to appeal the verdict of a military tribunal to a federal appeals court. The deal will come to a vote today, and the authors say they are confident it will pass.
As Weisman notes, the senators think they have another deal cooking with this somewhat unholy compromise:
That depends, however, on whether Dick Cheney, America’s tinhorn Torquemada, decides to tighten his own torque wrench on the Constitution. More from Weisman’s story:
Now Cheney has turned to House Republican leaders to hold McCain’s language back.
Well, you have to take issue with Weisman’s description of the vise president as “a major architect of the U.S. anti-terrorism effort.” By arguing in favor of torture, Cheney has forfeited any claim to being involved in anti-terrorism.
No doubt, though, that Cheney may think of himself as the Howard Roark of what is truly America’s Zero Decade. As Arrol Gellner describes Ayn Rand‘s protagonist:
Arrogance? Yes. Egocentrism? Yes. Genius? No. Cheney and I get similar scores on that little test. Only I’m less dangerous to the Constitution than he is.
Cheney even fails the ungrammatical but otherwise sound little test devised by General Geoffrey Miller, the former Colonel Klink of Guantánamo’s Camp X-Ray.
On July 11, 2003, just as the abuse of “detainees” was beginning, Miller wrote this in his “Message from the Top” column for the Joint Task Force Guantánamo publication The Wire:
Come to think of it, Miller, who quietly passed along his interrogation tips to the jailers at Abu Ghraib, flunked his own test.