The Senate voted today to take a giant step back in time, to pre-Magna Carta days, by passing the Torture Bill that strips detainees of their right of habeas corpus and allow America to torture detainees a little bit, just as long as we don't go too far.
Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) had this to say during the Senate debate...
In the wake of the attack of 9/11, and in the fact of the continuing terrorist threat, now is not the time for the United States to abandon its principles. Admiral Hutson was right to point out that when we do there would be little to distinguish America from a “banana republic” or the repressive regimes against which we are trying to rally the world and the human spirit. Now is not the time to abandon American values, to shiver and quake, to rely on secrecy and torture. Those are ways of repression and oppression, not the American way.
The habeas provisions of this bill are wrong-headed and flagrantly unconstitutional. Tinkering with them would not make them less wrong-headed, but might make them less flagrantly unconstitutional, and I see no reason to save the Administration from itself and from the inevitable defeat when the Supreme Court strikes them down. Why should those of us who take our oath to uphold the Constitution seriously, and who understand the fundamental importance of habeas to freedom, compromise with the drafters of this irresponsible bill?