The Senate voted 51 to 45 on Wednesday afternoon to ban water boarding and other harsh interrogation methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency against high-level terrorism suspects.This is an example of why John McCain can't win in November. He has said all along that he opposed torture and specifically water boarding but pandered to the wingnut base today and voted no. For every wingnut vote he picked up he lost one or two independents. The Democrats will need to do very little to defeat McCain in the fall, he's doing most of the work for them especially when it comes to Iraq.
Senate Republicans generally opposed the bill, but several of them also did not want to cast a vote that could be construed as supporting torture, and so were relying on President Bush to make good on a threat to veto legislation limiting C.I.A. interrogation techniques.
The prohibition of harsh interrogation techniques is part of a wider intelligence authorization bill and would restrict all American interrogators to techniques allowed in the Army Field Manual, which bars the use of physical force.
The House approved the bill in December by a vote of 222 to 199, mostly along party lines. Wednesday’s vote in the Senate was also along party lines. All the “no” votes were cast by Republicans, except for those of Senators Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, and Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska. Five Republicans and Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, voted “yes.”
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The pandering maverick
The Senate did the right thing today and passed the anti-water boarding bill.