From the UK, courtesy of Samizdata, comes a British perspective on the McCain/Warner/Graham attempt to hamstring our effort to collect information from captured terrorists/enemy combatants.
"Undermine human dignity" – this is the sort of language that the Geneva Convention is written in. Very noble to want to stop such things no doubt, but what do the words actually mean? Is it undermining human dignity to make enemy captives dress in prison uniforms? Some of the IRA prisoners in Ulster certainly thought so – and starved themselves to death to make their point.
How about being questioned by a women – Islamic prisoners may well hold that to be undermining their dignity. What is a tough interrogation and what is torture? Should the line be left vague (perhaps to be decided by some international "court" hearing a case against American interrogators later) or should the line be set down clearly in law in advance?
As for the arguments of Senator McCain and company – they are uniformly worthless.
"President Bush wants to modify the Geneva Convention" – no he does not, he wants to define what its vague words mean in terms of law.
"The United States does not define treaties in terms of its laws" – wrong, it has done so many times.
"The world will hate us if we do this" – the "world" (i.e. the leftist establishment) has hated the United States since President Truman decided to be Joe Stalin’s door mat. And this is not going to change – no matter what the United States does or does not do.
"If we do this American prisoners will be treated badly by their captors" – American prisoners will be tortured and killed regardless of whether Islamic terrorists are put into orange jumpsuits or whatever else is done. The idea that by being nice to the Islamic terrorists (or whoever) they will be influenced to be nice to Americans is crap.
If Americans do not wish to be tortured or killed they had better avoid being captured, nothing that America does or does not do will influence their treatment in any way.
This whole effort to achieve some sort of moral high ground, as if such an achievement would increase our standing in the world, is utter nonsense. According to virtually every survey taken that gauges US standing in the world, we are either hated or despised by a substantial majority of respondents. That we undertake the defense of liberty and democracy means nothing to Western Europeans, and is virtually unreported in the Muslim world.