Huckelberry's Hobgoblins

by digby

It seems like only yesterday that we heard this from Huckleberry Graham:

Sen. Lindsay Graham is the lone Republican to blast Gonzales. His boyish face comes paired with a kindergartner's hyperactivity, as he impatiently rocks his chair while waiting for his turn. During Gonzales' answers to others' questioning, Graham sometimes wears a look of confusion mingled with disgust. "I think we've dramatically undermined the war effort by getting on a slippery slope in terms of playing cute with the law," Graham, a reserve Air Force JAG officer, says. He adds later, "And I think you weaken yourself as a nation when you try to play cute and become more like your enemy instead of like who you want to be."

Gonzales senses that Graham has made a mistake and seizes on it. "We are nothing like our enemy, Senator," he protests. They behead people, like Danny Pearl and Nick Berg. Graham notes that this is a pretty low moral standard for America to aspire to. I agree that we're nothing like the enemy, he says. "But we're not like who we want to be and who we have been." (During Graham's second round of questioning, Gonzales tells him that government lawyers did the very best they could when they wrote the memo. "Well that's where you and I disagree," Graham retorts. "I think they did a lousy job.")

And this:

Mr. Graham: The Army Field Manual as a one-stop shop to guide the way we handle lawful combatants and enemy combatants is absolutely necessary if for no other reason than to protect our own troops. That is why we are doing this. That is one of the main reasons--to make sure that your own troops don't get in trouble because they are confused.


The best thing we can do for anybody operating in the war on terror is give them clarity about what to do in very stressful situations. There is the combat role. What do you do with somebody who is captured? You do what the President says: You treat them humanely, you interrogate them by standards we can live by that will not erode our moral authority.

Where have those standards been in the last 50 or 60 years? The Army Field Manual. You can change the Army Field Manual to adapt techniques to the war on terror. There is a classified section of the Army Field Manual. There is nothing about its adoption that limits the ability to aggressively interrogate people to get good intelligence. But if you want to torture people, the Army Field Manual says no and the President says no. It is now time for Congress to say no, and that is what this amendment is about.

Today, not so much:

Senate Republicans blocked a bill Friday that would restrict the interrogation methods the CIA can use against terrorism suspects.

The legislation, part of a measure authorizing the government's intelligence activities for 2008, had been approved a day earlier by the House and sent to the Senate for what was supposed to be final action. The bill would require the CIA to adhere to the Army's field manual on interrogation, which bans waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods.


Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., placed a hold on the intelligence bill, preventing the Senate from voting on it while the challenge goes forward.

"I think quite frankly applying the Army field manual to the CIA would be ill-advised and would destroy a program that I think is lawful and helps the country," Graham said in an interview.

And I assume Harry Reid will honor that hold, being a gentleman and all. He only refuses to honor the holds of his fellow Democrats.

Not that it matters. Aside from odd wide-stance scapegoat or a high school level spat about nothing, nobody in Washington is ever held accountable for anything they say or do.

I need a drink. A big one.