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This Is About Who WE Are

excerpts from a report by Joseph L. Galloway. August 3, 2005

There is a quiet struggle going on in the nation's capital, and the stakes are the very soul of the Republican Party and this administration.

Three senior Republican senators wrote a small amendment into the Defense Appropriations bill this summer that outlaws cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of all detainees in American custody.

No one can call Sens. John Warner [R-Va.], Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.], and Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.], soft on anything, much less terrorism. They constitute the Republican leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee. All three have worn the uniform of our country. One, John McCain, spent long years in the hands of America's enemies as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton.

The Bush White House is doing all that it can to stop this legislation from passing. Vice President Dick Cheney took the three senators to the wood shed and told them that their law would tie President Bush's hands in the war against terrorism. His bombast carried no weight with the three senators.

On the floor of the Senate, before everyone left on vacation, Sen. Jeff Sessions [R-Ala.] sounded the administration line: There is no need for this legislation because we are not dealing with prisoners of war but "terrorists." McCain stood up and responded that the debate was not "about who they are. It's about who we are." We are Americans, the senator said, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard than those who slaughter the innocent.

Please repeat after the good senator who knows about prisons and the torture of helpless human beings: This is not about who they are. This is about who we are. We are Americans and we hold ourselves to a higher standard of conduct. And, no, the end does not justify the means. Not now. Not ever, when the means include torturing prisoners.

You have been reading excerpts from "Soul of Republican Party at stake in prison-abuse scandal debate" by Joseph L. Galloway. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/e2vkf. Thanks to news.yahoo.com.

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