George Washington's Blog | February 27, 2010
Even after General Petraeus joined all of the experts saying that torture doesn't work, decreases national security, and is bad for our country, the Democrats are scrambling to be as pro-torture as the Republicans.
As Raw Story reports today:
Democratic leadership in the House was in disarray last night after having to withdraw the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act, moments before it was to have been voted upon, as the result of a controversial anti-torture provision.
The amendment was added in the House Rules Committee late on Wednesday and had not previously been vetted in committee. It would have criminalized the most extreme forms of "enhanced interrogation" and provided stiff sentences for intelligence officers or medical professions who engaged in them.
Republican opposition caused the Democrats to attempt to remove the provision from the bill on Thursday by a unanimous consent agreement. When the Republicans refused to go along, the Democratic leadership was forced to pull the bill entirely.
In the wake of the debacle, there was confusion as to how the provision had gotten into the bill, and Democratic leaders appeared to be attempting to distance themselves from it.
The American Prospect had reported earlier that the amendment was proposed by House Intelligence Committee Chair Sylvestre Reyes (D-TX). After the withdrawal of the bill, however, Politico cited Democratic sources as saying that "House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter attached the provision to the bill Wednesday over the objections of other House leaders." One source told RollCall (reg. req.), "No one wanted it in there," and Rep. Jane Harmon (D-CA) insisted, "It's a mystery how that language got in there."
The amendment would have banned the most extreme forms of "enhanced interrogation" -- including waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation, and forced sexual acts -- and imposed sentences of up to fifteen years, or even life if a detainee died as a result of such treatment.