Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010 (Introduced in Senate)

Has this been discussed? Anybody seen this? This act, introduced on March 4, by McCain, Lieberman, Inhofe, Brown, Wicker, Chambliss, Lemieux, Sessions, and Vitter, includes the following provision. I find this extremely disturbing, even if it has little chance of passing.

Bolding mine.

WTF is McCain thinking? He was a POW who was held without trial and tortured, for Pete’s sake!

So, reactions? Why draft this piece of garbage? How much chance does it have of passing?

That was then. Now, he’s running for reelection.

It is still the U.S.'s current practice and generally in accordance with Geneva.
McCain was a POW and this is for people who are not POWs in the legal sense.
Also, it is commonpractice to hold POW for the duration of the conflict and since being captured in the battlefield is a crime per se there are no criminal charges.

While I’m sure McCain didn’t love being held as a POW, I’m also sure he understood the basic legality of the act. During war, if you capture enemy combatants, you are allowed to hold them as prisoners of war.

Undoubtedly he objected to the torture, but I’m having trouble finding the section of this bill that authorizes torture, and thus should presumably arouse McCain’s ire.

Where is it?

But what if Obama says that Senator McCain is “unprivileged enemy belligerent?” I think he might want a chance to tell someone that a terrible mistake had been made and he’s really innocent instead of being held without trial for the duration of the hostilities.

So you support this? It gives the government the explicit right to “disappear” a US citizen and hold that person for as long as the nebulously defined “War on Terror” lasts, and you’re OK with it?

This isn’t limited to people captured on the battlefield. Read the bill- they could do this to anyone, in principle.


“Such other matters as the President considers appropriate.”

That could be literally anything. It’s just a way to say “If we don’t want to, we don’t have to charge this person with a crime or let them go, no matter what.”

The biggest problem comes in the second half of the sentence, not the first. Congress wants to treat things like a war, but doesn’t have the balls to actually declare war. And making things last as long as the “War on Terror” is scary. Especially given their penchant for including anyone they don’t like into the bumper group of terrorists.

This does seem to short-circuit ‘due process’.
If this had been suggested while Cheney was still in power, then I would be outraged, but since our current administration is righteous and trustworthy, I don’t worry that it will be misused.

And, of course, the bill does have a limited duration, right? That is, if someone besides Mr. Obama becomes supreme leader then the bill will become null and void… right?

<cue crickets>

Looks like a shot across the bows of the Dems, daring them to publicly be “soft on terror” during an election year.

And considering that it’s worked before, well. . .

Frankly, I’d love to see it get to President Obama’s desk, and have its veto sustained.

No, I don’t support this.

But I also don’t support inane parallels such as “McCain was a POW that was tortured, therefore he shouldn’t support this.”

This bill doesn’t pertain to either POWs or torture, so of what relevance is MCain’s past status as a tortured POW?

I’m not sure about the exact legal definition of “POW”, since I am not a lawyer, but you don’t think anyone subjected to the treatment described in this proposed legislation could be reasonably described as a “prisoner of war”, since the Act describes the conditions under which an individual can be take prisoner and held during a war?

As for torture, yes, stress positions are torture. Not that the legislation addresses that, but the conditions under which an “enemy belligerent” is held by US forces is quite likely to involve stress positions.

If this bill passes over a presidential veto, Obama should indefinitely detain all members of Congress who voted for it. I wonder how long that law would last.

The relevance might be that a person who had his human rights violated in the past should be a little more sensitive about denying other (related) human rights to other people.

He most probably couldn’t do that. Art I, Sec. 6.

I would guess extremely little chance. For one, the US won’t hold US citizens without trial/charge. If they were reluctant to do it previously, I can’t see how this would pass now. Second, this proposal has no judicial oversight.

The act that has a much more realistic chance of passing is the one proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham. I don’t think the act has been released, but here is an article discussing it. From what I’ve heard, it has much more judicial oversight (McCain’s had zip) which is good. Of course, if you’re still in a prosecute or release mind frame, you won’t like it.

Something needs to be in place for future treatment of non-POW terrorists. Or Obama needs to clearly state we will treat all terrorists as criminals, but I personally do not think he is going that route.

That’s unlikely to be the meaning intended by the OP:

This line seems to suggest that holding a POW without trial is wrong, somehow. Yet it’s not at all wrong; it’s exactly what is contemplated as the fate of a POW during the time hostilities are in force. Right?

There’s something, though to your contention about torture, but if that were the intent of the OP, surely he would have said something like: “WTF is McCain thinking? He was a POW who tortured, and now he’s willing to let other be tortured?!? For Pete’s sake!”

That line emphasizes the torture, and presents a very different complaint than the one actually tendered by the OP, who appears to be objecting to the entire practice of prisoners of war.

Actually, that was precisely the meaning intended by the OP. If I was unclear, I apologize, but I strongly suspect that you are intentionally misunderstanding, since you’re the only one who seemingly has had trouble parsing the OP.

You’d think, but in practice how often does this actually happen? A thorough lack of support for gay rights among blacks is but one recent example.