However, I missed two other crucial loopholes which also make McCain's torture ban a case of fine words and ill-faith action.
Firstly, TheBHC at "Anything They Say" emailed me to point out that the McCain Conjob specifically restricts American interrogators to methods approved by the United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation. Well, what are those methods? We aren't allowed to know.
The Army has approved a new, classified set of interrogation methods .... The techniques are included in a 10-page classified addendum to a new Army field manual that was forwarded this week to Stephen A. Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence policy.TheBHC also has cites that strongly suggest McCain and Bush were giggling up their sleeves when they put this one together.
Then Brian at The New Standard brought my attention to this one:
Even as the U.S. Congress has passed a prohibition against the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, it is set to adopt legislation that would strip the judiciary's ability to enforce the ban, Human Rights Watch warned today...the legislation containing the McCain Amendment currently includes another provision – the Graham-Levin Amendment – that would deny the five hundred-some detainees in Guantánamo Bay the ability to bring legal action seeking relief from the use of torture or cruel and inhumane treatment. And it implicitly authorizes the Department of Defense to consider evidence obtained through torture or other inhumane treatment in assessing the status of detainees held in Guantánamo Bay.Cute, huh? If passed into law, the Graham-Levin Amendment will be the first time in American History that Congress has effectively permitted the use of evidence obtained through torture.
Brian rightly points out that while the mainstream media are concentrating on McCain's tortured rhetoric this has slipped utterly under their radar. (If you aren't already getting the New Standard's email updates, then go sign up right now!)
So I will repeat myself. The whole thing was a PR exercize and the Bush/Rove team now have been paid back in full for long-ago smears by McCain, who handed them an embarrasing political defeat and got a huge boost for his Presidential campaign while actually accomplishing nothing in real terms. Once the extremist right figure that out they are gonna love John McCain!