Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baghdad Jim Rides Again

This might be categorized as one more example that there is indeed a difference between the two parties.

Do you remember “Baghdad Jim McDermott”? He was the Democratic Congressman who, along with fellow Democrat Reps Jim Thompson and David Bonior, took a trip to Baghdad on the eve of the Iraq War to do a public-service ad for Saddam’s regime on international TV.
Said McDermott on ABC’s “This Week” from Baghdad: "The president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war." Moments later, despite 12 years of evidence that the Iraqi regime had lied about its weapons program, McDermott said, "I think you have to take the Iraqis on their face value."
A month later McDermott accepted a $5,000 payment from an Iraqi businessman tied to Saddam.

McDermott is still doing his best to make sure America loses in the struggle against Islamic terrorism. This past Thursday House Republicans, led by Michigan’s Rep. Pete Hoekstra, forced House Democrats to withdraw an amendment drafted by McDermott, and slipped into an intelligence budget measure at the last second while everyone was focused on the President’s health-care summit.

The bill was withdrawn by House Democrats in the face of Republican opposition, and when it became apparent “some moderate Democrats indicated they would not vote for the bill.”

The McDermott amendment is called the Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogation Prohibition Act of 2010. (Here.)

According to Andy McCarthy:
The provision is impossibly vague — who knows what “degrading” means?. . . . any interrogation tactic that a prosecutor subjectively believes is “degrading” (e.g., subjecting a Muslim detainee to interrogation by a female CIA officer) could be the basis for indicting a CIA interrogator. (While You Are Distracted by the Summit, Obama Democrats Are Targeting the CIA”).
Hoekstra told Democrat supporters of the amendment:
"In the intelligence community today, these folks already believe they are under attack by this administration, and this just reinforces this," Mr. Hoekstra said. "This is outrageous. There has not been one minute of hearings or debates on this amendment, and you are putting something in an [intelligence] bill that could put officers in jail for life. What are you thinking?"
Of course, the act specifies waterboarding, the gravest mortal sin recognized by the Left, (now that we’ve all stopped smoking) as a prohibited technique. One would expect those on that side of the argument to regard the law, (had it survived passage) as a moral triumph, accompanied by blaring trumpets and huzzahs, for the way reduces to statute years of enlightened Democratic indignation about the alleged lawless conduct of the Bush-era torture regime.

Then why sneak it in, as McCarthy points out, while America was distracted by the summit? Why? Because the fact of the amendment itself proves the opposite, that the Bush era wasn’t lawless at all in the way it conducted interrogations:

Waterboarding, as it was practiced by the CIA, is not torture and was never illegal under U.S. law. The reason the Democrats are reduced to doing this is: what they’ve been saying is not true — waterboarding was not a crime and it was fully supported by congressional leaders of both parties, who were told about it while it was being done. On that score, it is interesting to note that while Democrats secretly tucked this provision into an important bill, hoping no one would notice until it was too late, they failed to include in the bill a proposed Republican amendment that would have required full and complete disclosure of records describing the briefings members of Congress received about the Bush CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. Those briefings, of course, would establish that Speaker Pelosi and others knew all about the program and lodged no objections. Naturally, members of Congress are not targeted by this criminal statute — only the CIA.
McCarthy writes in addition that the amendment:

shows how politicized law-enforcement has become under the Obama Democrats. They could have criminalized waterboarding at any time since Jan. 20, 2009. But they waited until now. Why? Because if they had tried to do it before now, it would have been a tacit admission that waterboarding was not illegal when the Bush CIA was using it. That would have harmed the politicized witch-hunt against John Yoo and Jay Bybee, a key component of which was the assumption that waterboarding and the other tactics they authorized were illegal. Only now, when that witch-hunt has collapsed, have the Democrats moved to criminalize these tactics. It is transparently partisan.
Baghdad Jim had help on this one. According to Politico, it was “House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter [who] attached the provision to the bill Wednesday over the objections of other House leaders.”

Rep. Slaughter attracted notice for something else on Wednesday while attending the health summit, when she told the story about her poor constituent clacketing around the district wearing her dead sister’s dentures. (“And, of course, it's uncomfortable, they don't fit.”)

DU has been unable to confirm a later statement related to this attributed to Rep. Slaughter. We're told she said that, had she heard this unbelievable story sooner, she would have added to the McDermott amendment a prohibition against forcing any unlawful combatant to wear anyone’s false teeth but his own.

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