Not only has the North Carolina congressman come to see the Iraq War as folly, he was one of only a handful of Republicans to oppose the torture bill. The honor roll also includes Roscoe Bartlett, Wayne Gilchrest, Steven LaTourette, James Leach, Jerry Moran, and of course Ron Paul. Along with most of the Democratic caucus.
Notice anyone missing from that list? On Bovard’s blog, “libertarian” Jeff Flake’s absence was noted. But I was most surprised — and sickened — by John Duncan’s pro-torture vote. He’s an antiwar Republican (YouTube video) who’s long seemed like one of the few decent human beings on the Hill, though there’ve always been places where one could quibble with his record. But this is just shameful. John Hostettler, of Indiana’s firecely contested “bloody eighth” district, is another antiwar but pro-torture Republican. His opponent is a pro-war Democrat. Thanks to Hostettler’s “coercive interrogation” vote, though, I hope the Dem wins just so his party gets closer to retaking the House, since that’s clearly the only thing that will stand between George W. Bush and Divine Right.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, not only did McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Warner capitulate to Bush, they voted against an attempt to preserve executive detainees’ — which is what “enemy combatants” ought to be called, since the executive branch can decide arbitrarily who fits the “enemy combatant” bill — habeas corpus protections.
I’ve never felt so slimy to be an American. The Bush administration has been torturing and illegally holding people for years, of course, but without the fig leaf of law. Now waterboarding, stress positions, extended sleep deprivation (which, if you’re keeping people awake for days on end, may be more cruel than traditional thumbscrews), and a whole array of modern torture techniques are, at least implicitly, part of the law of the land. The rule of law has become the rule of the Marquis de Sade.
In all of this, the branch of the federal government that has acquitted itself best is the Supreme Court. Why are we supposed to want a Republican Senate and president again?