Wednesday, March 12, 2008

McCain embraces torture

John McCain has now abandoned one of the few aspects of his stand on issues that was reasonably attractive and laudable. I have been reading Matt Welch's excellent book, "McCain: The Myth of a Maverick," which documents numerous shifts in position accompanied by declarations that he has never shifted positions, and prevarications accompanied by promises never to lie, so I shouldn't have been surprised. Nonetheless, this shift is particularly dispiriting. I had allowed myself to believe that this was one position on which he was likely to stand, given that he had already taken whatever grief was coming to him for this particular deviation from what seems to be (sadly) the new Republican orthodoxy, and his life story was compelling enough that it trumped any serious criticism.

The occasion was Bush's veto of a bill designed to prohibit U.S. agents from using "waterboarding" and other forms of "enhanced interrogation" techniques. McCain announced he would support the veto. Thus another betrayal of whatever traces remain of his better self.

The saddest aspect is that in the wake of Bush-Cheney tortured justifications for torture seem to have become an article of faith for the misguided band who remain unaccountably loyal to this terrible president. The justification here is that the CIA has better-trained interrogators and is likely to be dealing with rougher characters than the military so it shouldn't be bound by the Army Field Manual on interrogation. It also seems to be an expression of Bush-Cheney's drive to enhance the power of the presidency as an unaccountable repository of power vis-a-vis the other branches of government. In fact that may be the issue that persuaded McCain, who is also an unabashed advocate of a Rooseveltian (TR and FDR both) view of untrammeled executive power.

It might also be another way of pandering to what is laughingly called the Republican "base." which is said to be enamored of constant war and torture.

I refuse to believe that all is lost, but this is a sad day for America

1 comment:

scottwww said...

Panama John

Since Senator John McCain was not born "in the United States" he is not a natural born Citizen of the United States and therefore is not eligible to the Office of President.

It's really quite simple, and only needs further explanation because the general consensus of politicians and the media has been to duck the issue. All evidence supports the conclusion seen in the topic sentence. Sources that support this conclusion include the U.S. Constitution which is the supreme law of the land, The Naturalization Act of 1790, The Naturalization Act of 1795, and the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty ratified for the construction and operation of the Panama Canal Zone.

John McCain was born on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Panama to U.S. citizen parents. McCain is a United States citizen due to parentage, not naturally by reason of birth on U.S. soil which is a basic constitutional requirement.

The ineligibility of John McCain to serve as president may not prevent his run for the office. However, he cannot hold the office. If he were elected president, legal challenges would be inevitable.

Without an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it is unlikely the Supreme Court of the United States could rule in McCain's favor except by legislating from the bench. The more conservative side of the Republican party has typically represented the case for separation of powers with a louder voice than the more liberal side of the Democrat party. Have conservatives been gagged?

The sidestepping of this critical issue in the media, by the politicians, and the political parties is alarming and may lead to a national crisis in the event of a McCain win in the general election.

The Naturalization Act of 1790 that changed the definition for natural born citizen to include parentage was repealed by the Naturalization Act of 1795. Since then the constitutional requirement has not again been broadened to include parentage in the definition of natural born Citizen.