Detainee Amendments Decided Tonight

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It looks like the Senate will decide tonight on the fate of Sen. John McCain’s proposed amendments to the defense spending bill, both of which would standardize treatment of detainees. According to McCain and others, the odds look good that the amendments will pass:

Republicans, defying President George W. Bush, said on Wednesday they expected the Senate to support imposing standards on the Pentagon’s treatment of military detainees in the wake of abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.

The Senate was to vote later in the day on bipartisan amendments to regulate the Pentagon’s interrogations and treatment of prisoners and detainees.

President Bush, of course, has promised to veto the bill—which would be his first veto since taking office—if it contained any amendments that would “bar the U.S. military from engaging in ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.” He wouldn’t veto a pork-laden highway bill that clocked in at billions of dollars over its proposed budget, but by gun, he’ll wave a veto right in the face of the first Senator or Congressman who takes away his right to torture detainees in captivity. We’ll have to see who wins this battle—hopefully the president has been so weakened by his foul-ups of late that he won’t be able to pitch this battle, but who knows?

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