From the AP:
WASHINGTON — The U.S. administration and Senate Republicans announced agreement Thursday on the interrogation and trial of suspects in the war on terror, clearing a major obstacle blocking legislation at the top of the Republican election-year agenda.
“We have a legislative framework that would allow terrorists to be brought to justice,” said National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, emerging from a meeting in the office of Majority Leader Bill Frist.
“The agreement that we’ve entered into gives the president the tools he needs to continue to fight the war on terror and bring these evil people to justice,” said Senator John McCain of Arizona, one of three rebellious Republican legislators who told U.S. President George W. Bush he couldn’t have the legislation the way he initially asked for it.
“There’s no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved,” McCain said, referring to international agreements that cover the treatment of prisoners in wartime.
Details of the agreement were sketchy.
I'll provide one detail - since Dems have been hiding behind St. John on this issue, they will have a hard time announcing at this late date that McCain lacks the integrity and judgment to be trusted.
And another detail - whether this is a victory for Bush or McCain, it is not a victory for Harry Reid and the Senate Dems.
Here is the Times coverage.
In related news - although we would not call it "torture", Brian Ross of ABC News reports that coercive interrogation works. The NY Times had a long piece on this in June 2005 (excerpts), from which I took away this:
- the experts think that the threat of physical coercion is a useful interrogation tactic but they offer few examples of torture itself providing actionable intelligence.
UPDATE: Let's come back to the first point and let Digby explain why hiding behind McCain was not so shrewd:
The Republicans are now standing shoulder to shoulder having worked this whole thing out --- they are strong, they are tough, they are moral, and they are willing to work together to form a compromise that they can all live with. Aren't they great? This is why we should vote Republican.
Now watch this drive.
Ed Rogers on Hardball said Bush got to look both tough on terror and effective in bringing the senate along. Kweisi Mfume says McCain looks good to Democrats and independents and Bush looks good to Americans in general.
Can anyone in the know explain to me how letting McCain run with this torture debate benefitted the Democrats in any way?
Here's how the optics look to me:
McCain, the Republican rebel maverick, showed that Republicans are moral and look out for their troops.
Bush, the Republican statesman and leader, showed that he is committed to protecting Americans but that he is willing to listen and compromise when people of good faith express reservations about tactics.
The Democrats showed they are ciphers who don't have the stones to even say a word when the most important moral issue confronting the government is being debated.
It's a bipartisan consensus.
MORE CONSENSUS: The Agonist:
...the Democrats we so weak-kneed there wasn't even any dissension. They just rolled over.
I'm so disgusted with the "Let's let the Republicans do it" Democrats that I might really puke. Write to them, write to them all, and ask them how in the world they can be so silent when the subject is fergodsakes torture. I cannot believe they let this happen. I can't believe, after all this time, they really thought they could trust any Republican to stand up for what's right and put a stop to this. Didn't any of them even read the stupid McCain/Graham/ghost proposal? Gah. Read Digby, who appears to have moved beyond the teeth-gnashing phase to actual coherent sentences.
That would be McCain. He's supposed to be the odd man out in the Republican party, the one who dares to disagree, nay, even challenge the rigid power structure of the party. But somehow nothing ever comes from these challenges. The wingnut power structure always gets its way and McCain ends up looking like a rebel, like an independent thinker, like a moderate. Like someone a Democrat could love.
It's a bad-cop-good-cop routine, and McCain is the good cop. Too bad that the Democrats never learn this.
Great to see the Dem base getting energized in time for the election. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid - Ready to Lead!
IN SEARCH OF BETTER SLOGANS: Here is a cheerier view of the Dem "strategy":
There is a possibility that in the past two weeks [while Bush and McCain were doing what will be described as the heavy lifting] the Democrats were able to devise their sixth iteration of a campaign slogan and strategy to roll out with less than 50 days to the election. Perhaps they could call it "Fifty States, Fifty Days...But Never Fifty Percent"? It's catchy, it's succinct, and it may well be accurate come November 8th.