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John Kerry: ‘This Bill Permits Torture’

by Pamela Leavey

Yesterday the House rushed through Bush’s ‘torture bill’ and today as the Senate is in the midst of debate on the bill it is clear there is no stopping this travesty of justice. The N.Y. Times reports that “House Democrats were prevented from offering any amendments,” during their debate yesterday. Where is our Democracy? Under the agreement reached by the Senate, Democrats were allowed to propose four amendments.

One, by Mr. Levin, would have adopted the approach endorsed by the Armed Services Committee and the three Republicans who resisted the Bush administration: Senators John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. It failed on a 54-to-43 vote, with two Democrats, Senators Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, crossing party lines.

Republicans remain confident they will hold off any changes to the ‘torture bill’ when the remaining amendments come up for vote today. John McCain sold out last week and the rest of the Republicans in the Senate have followed suit.

Speaking at Johns Hopkins University today on National Security, John Kerry had this to say about the ‘torture bill’ during his speech:

We’ve got to tell the truth about what’s happening right now – right now – in our country. We must start treating our moral authority as a national treasure that doesn’t limit our power but magnifies our influence. That seems obvious, but this Administration still doesn’t get it. Still. Right now – today — they are trying to rush a bill through Congress that will fundamentally undermine our moral authority, put our troops at greater risk, and make our country less safe.

Let me be clear about something—something that it seems few people are willing to say. This bill permits torture. It gives the President the discretion to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions. No matter how much well-intended United States Senators would like to believe otherwise, it gives an Administration that lobbied for torture just what it wanted.

The only guarantee we have that these provisions really will prohibit torture is the word of the President. But we have seen in Iraq the consequences of simply accepting the word of this Administration. No, we cannot just accept the word of this Administration that they will not engage in torture given that everything they’ve already done and said on this most basic question has already put our troops at greater risk and undermined the very moral authority needed to win the war on terror.”

“It leaves our moral authority in tatters if the president who seems to have been for torture before he was against it is given a blank check by a Congress that would rather duck the issue and dodge the debate. It is time for the United States Senate to make clear what presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton knew for certain but this Administration prefers to muddy: on the issue of torture, there is no compromise. America will not weaken the values that make us strong.

“We need to restore America’s moral authority in the world, and we do that by leading according to our best values. That’s how we need to define America, and that’s how we need to define our foreign policy.”

My sources tell me that John Kerry will be speaking on the Senate floor sometime soon after noon in opposition of the ‘torture bill’. The bottom line I am told, is there were no improvements to the bill. It’s a done deal. The true patriots of this country are those who stand in opposition of this bill today. Don’t let anyone fool you.

UPDATE: Kerry Opposes Senate’s Failure on Torture Compromise. Listen to the audio here.

UPDATE 2: The video of John Kerry’s speech at Johns Hopkins University is available here.

REALTED POST: “Let America Be America Again”

17 Responses to “John Kerry: ‘This Bill Permits Torture’”

  1. […] Regime (September 28, 2006 at 12:54 pm) John Kerry, who finally understands what they’re up to: Let me be clear about something—something that it seems few people are wil […]

  2. “We’ve lost all credibility…”

    By whom?

  3. With all the articles by kerry that are published on this blog it would seem that he is running again. I hope so! I can’t wait to start ripping his military record apart again!

  4. Senator Kerry has bled for his country with honor, while others chose repeated deferments from serving their country in the Vietnam war. President Bush never served his country in Vietnam. So I question his judgment when it comes to matters of war. Senator Kerry has served his country nobly. He is a war hero who has the integrity to serve his nation again should he decide to run again for president. Senator Kerry has stood up for his ideals. Vice President Cheney never served his country, he took deferments. As did Speaker Hastert, Karl Rove and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. The democrats have a plan to win the war in Iraq which is why most polls show a 60% disapproval of how the president is handling the war in Iraq. Most Americans also believe that the president is leading the country on the wrong track. Under this president we will lose the Iraq war, under the leadership of Senator Kerry we will win it.

  5. “Senator Kerry has bled for his country with honor”

    Like the scratch that got him his first Purple Heart which was denied by his Commanding Officer? He finally got that medal a few months later. Who recommended it for him?

    “President Bush never served his country in Vietnam”

    Neither did I and I served from 1965 – 1970. Are you discounting my service also. Remember, Kerry ran for office using his blemished military record, Bush didn’t. Kerry got what he deserved!

    “He is a war hero”

    Based on the number of medals he was awarded in 4 months I would have to agree with you but upon scrutinizing his record different conclusions arise. Hell, he aquired medals faster thab Audie Murphy and he didn’t spend one night in a hospital. Take your blinders off!

    “The democrats have a plan to win the war in Iraq”

    We’ve been waiting the past couple of years to hear exactly what that is!

    “Most Americans also believe that the president is leading the country on the wrong track”

    Most Americans don’t understand what is at stake.

  6. rightwingtroll,

    It’s been a very long day, and I’m way too tired for more lies.

    As some vets mentioned today in rolling out VetPac, this outrageous slander about Kerry’s (by the way, deserved) purple hearts slanders ALL the military, and trivializes the purple heart. All war veterans, especially those receiving purple hearts have put their lives on the line for their country. John Kerry put his life on the line for this country, honorably, while our current president couldn’t even be bothered to complete his cushy domestic National Guard duty.

  7. RightWingTroll

    You’ve had your say… time to go now.

  8. “You’ve had your say… time to go now”

    Can’t respond?

  9. Senator Kerry was wounded more times than President Bush who never served his country in war. And no, they were not scratches. He has never been denied a medal. He did not cut and run from serving his country which President Bush did.

    This is not about you. Senator Kerry’s war records were not blemished in any way. That is why no one from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, has tried to have any of the medals revoked by the Navy, because they have no proof. The Navy stands by its decision. The medals were noble like his service and his sacrifice for his country. The Secretary of the Navy during this time Sen. John Warner, a republican, has said so. We admire him for it because it defines who he is. Swift-boating has now become an ugly verb a result of those republican funded false ads by the Swift Boat veterans. They lied and did disservice to their own service and to America. I feel sorry for them.

    If you scrutinized his war record or the medals he won, you would discover that they were awarded properly. Your bias and sarcasm betrays your true motives, if you study the real records you will find yourself proven wrong. Senator Kerry’s supporters do not wear blinders. Republicans do, because they try very hard to hide the fact that their candidate never served his country when there was a draft in place. Senator Kerry volunteered to serve; President Bush did not.

    If you really wish to hear this plan to win the Iraq war, go to johnkerry.com or the dccc.org websites. The president does not have a plan to win the Iraq war nor did he not have a plan for post-war Iraq as well. He underestimated (or to quote him directly, “mis-underestimated”, whatever that means in English) the insurgency. The weapons of mass destruction were not found. Secretary Rumsfeld thought that we would be greeted with flowers by the people of Iraq. Vice President Cheney thought a year or so ago that the insurgency was in its last stages. All these assertions have been proven false. The president now says that there was no connection between 9-11 and the Iraq war. His words, not mine.

    Americans do understand what is at stake. They recognize a mess and gross incompetence when they see it. That is why they think we are on the wrong track. The American people are right and in November they will vote for democrats. Now that we are there, we have to win this war. Staying the current course will make sure that we will lose it. Following Senator Kerry’s plan we will win it and the larger war on terror. Senator Kerry will have to sit down and correct every single mistake his predecessor has made.

  10. rightwingtroll,

    good name. the problem with this country are the rightwingtrolls that live here. you have abandoned your country by saying the Navy is incompetent by awarding medals to those you disagree with. you have cut and run from reality and have lost your patriotism. I guess it is ok that an innocent Canadian was given to rendition, tortured, and held with no charge for three years before our people listened to what he had to say and turned him loose. I guess it would be all right with you if a member of your family was treated like this!

  11. Today was all about people like rightwingtroll. The legislation was bad enough, but today was all about ginning up the base, i.e. rightwingtroll.
    Look at what was going on today in Alabama. Shrub is out there in already trashing Dems over this mess. This is all about November 7th, and the lead up to it.
    October is going to be scorched earth month. The GOPers (Rove) will paint the Dems as ‘cut and runners’ or ‘coddling terrorist’. Mark my words.
    Howard Dean and those others involves in Dem strategy had better be ready. Go call shrub a liar, point out all the dead and wounded from Iraq, and point out the lack of over sight and billions of dollars shot to Hell for nothing. Ask where Bin Laden is. That’s always a good question. Run the type of ad that VoteVets.Org has going – the one with the body armour, and the rounds going through the armour.
    Burn everything. This is for the Congress. Pound the GOP over Iraq. Like Harry Truman said, tell the truth and make’m feel like it’s Hell. It’s going to be graphic and it’s going to be brutal.

    The trick is to be the last one standing.

  12. Bush went from torturing frogs and other defenless animals when he was young to sanction toture of humans.

    Blue- I’m afraid that the majority of dems in the congress especially the senate love being under the Rethug wrecking ball other wise Harry Reid would be out on his @$$ as minority leader for this few ours of debate sham he pulled.

    Rove will paint the dems as coddling terrorist unless they unload on these GOP bastards and for once go for the hail mary.

    The dems were sunk when they allowed McCain, and Graham to lead this debate and not speak out. In the end McCain always gives dubya what he wants so does Graham. Why on earth did they allow these 3 to speak for them less than 2 months before an election that will decide the fate of this nation for years to come.

    The dems so called defference to McCain will sink this blame party in 06 and 08.

  13. rightwingtroll,

    There are more ways to be a war hero than getting wounded. Getting hosptilized for your wound, or a limb blown off, is not the only reason medals are given. Kerry developed a new strategy for the swift boats to use when ambushed that worked better than what they had been doing.

    That 4 month tour was an eternity in the ‘metal coffins’ as some other vets called them. The mortality rate of the swift boat crews was horrible.

    Kerry and all his crew made it out alive. Sometimes its how badly you WEREN’T wounded that is the greater achievement.

    If you ever want to look at something to see if MAYBE there could be some good things about Kerry, his service and his accomplishments, try the documentary Upriver; The Long Road of John Kerry

    (Ok, I know you won’t, but other readers might find it an excellent intro to the man.)

    “With all the articles by kerry that are published on this blog it would seem that he is running again. ”

    We don’t know yet – he is waiting until after the November election to have the time to consider it. And, we are mostly ‘never surrender’ Kerry fighters.

    I guess what I don’t understand is that you are more concerned with ripping up his war record than debating his ideas and plans.

    Can’t respond? We’ve still got his back, bud.

  14. pen –

    I donno about the Reid scenario. My own view is 2 fold.
    A) I think he knew going in that he didn’t have the 40 votes to sustain a filibuster; along with that, this law will end up in the courts and in all likelihood be tossed out. Is this a cop-out? Are the Dems passing the buck? Yea. Probably.
    B) This bill is not about terrorism, it’s about politics – and every Dem is thinking about what happened in the 2002 midterms.

    What I except the Democratic Leadership to do is go after the GOPers – don’t roll over now that the campaign is on. BURN EVERYTHING! THIS IS WAR!!

    “War is Hell” – Gen. W.T. Sherman

  15. Dirty Deeds Done

    The damage is done — let the dirty deeds for the Bush regime continue… The Senate voted to endorse Bush’s plans to “prosecute and interrogate terror suspects,” otherwise known as the Bush ‘torture bill’.

  16. I’ve been censored again at another liberal blog that couldn’t stand up to my scrutiny! It’s my badge of courage!

  17. […] on the terrorist networks that present the greatest threat to this country…read on Kerry: Let me be clear about something—something that it seems few people are willing to say. Th […]