Thursday, October 06, 2005

Victory! (Priorities?)

The Senate has voted in favor of the McCain Amendment banning torture, 90-9. My position on this was rather clear, so I'm of course thrilled, and very happy at the lop-sided nature of the vote--it gives me hope that we'll prevail in what promises to be an uphill battle in the House. However, the fact that we won big today shouldn't stop us from shaming those who voted pro-torture:
Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Christopher Bond (R-MO)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
James ["outraged by the outrage"] Inhofe (R-OK)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)

War and Piece by way of Kevin Drum. Though many of those folks are big names, few are prone to political pressure, being from rock-solid red states (Allard and Bond may be the exceptions to that). However, I believe that John Cornyn is contemplating a presidential run--this should be hung on his neck like a 100 pound weight.

Most people seem to be supportive. Andrew Sullivan is of course thrilled--as he should be. He worked harder than anybody to publicize the abuse, we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Instapundit is maybe less gung-ho, but still terms White House resistance to the bill "a mistake." Maybe the closest things to negative reactions I've seen are at Belgravia Dispatch (which is just sick of discussing torture period--a misguided position, in my view) and Outside the Beltway, which expects a veto because torture is apparently "considered a fundamental part of presidential authority." Gosh, I hope not. The latter doesn't have much to say on the subject, but the post at Belgravia is very interesting. I think, though, that it falls into the trap of assuming anti-torture advocates are just representative of the loony anti-war left and/or that the vote was designed to placate them. This, I think is misguided--myself and Mr. Sullivan are two pro-war voices that have come out strongly in favor of this bill, and of the 90 senators who voted "yea" there are plenty of them who continue to support the war as well. As for trying to buy off anti-war dissenters, I agree this will have little effect, but I couldn't care less. It was the right thing to do. And by showing the US won't tolerate torture, we take out one arrow in Al-Qaeda's propaganda arsenal (I should be clear that based on my reading of BD's post, he is also supportive of this measure. He's just in a slightly reduced state of ecstasy than I am).

Finally, perhaps the oddest reaction comes from John Cole at Balloon Juice. He writes:
That is spectacular news. Our troops should never have been put in this position, and I am still unable to believe that no one has been held accountable for pas transgressions. Well, they did get criminal mastermind Lyddie England.

I will never vote for John McCain for his participation in creating McCain/Feingold, but he deserves the lions share of the credit for this. Thank you, Sen. McCain.

Now, I too was an opponent of McCain/Feingold when it came out (though I'm slowly moving to other side on it, right now I'm on the fence). But a little bit of prioritization, please? McCain managed to almost single-handedly get an issue of critical moral importance onto the Senate floor when it was presumed to be old, dead news, convinced the leadership to hold a vote, and won a landslide victory that will galvanize supporters and put pressure on the House to vote likewise. In comparison, a dispute over how far we can go in trying to reduce the influence of special interests on elections is chump change. Even if McCain/Feingold was ever important enough to me for me to vote off of (which it wasn't), passing this amendment makes me forgive him.

No comments: