After months of playing the coy game of “if torture is so bad, why don’t you specifically outlaw it,” Bush and the dead-enders are going to get what they want:
In a sharp rebuke to White House counterterrorism policy, a Congressional conference committee has voted to outlaw the harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency against suspected high-level terrorists.
The vote to require all American interrogators to abide by the Army Field Manual, which prohibits coercive methods, came during negotiations of the Senate and House intelligence committees over the annual intelligence authorization bill. It will not be the last word on the subject; the full House and Senate must still pass the bill, and it would likely face a veto by President Bush.
But passage of the interrogation restriction — by one vote in a tense, three-hour meeting on Wednesday behind closed doors — reflected Congress’s growing disenchantment with the harsh tactics authorized by the White House after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was the latest setback for the administration’s insistence that what it calls “enhanced” interrogation techniques are a critical part of gathering intelligence to thwart future terrorist attacks.
Bush can then veto it, and the NRO can cheer him for protecting us all.