No surprises here. WaPo:
The Bush administration in recent days has been lobbying to block legislation supported by Republican senators that would bar the U.S. military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.
It's remarkable only because the three things that the legislation would apparently block are all illegal anyway. As for the 1) "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment:
Another McCain amendment prohibits the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in the custody of the U.S. government. This provision, modeled after wording in the U.N. Convention Against Torture -- which the United States has already ratified -- is meant to overturn an administration position that the convention does not apply to foreigners outside the United States.
The administration's position was false in the first place because the UN Convention states nothing about whether people are outside the US or not. It says that
Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
And if US Naval bases aren't under our jurisdiction, I don't know what is.
As for 2), that the US can't hide detainees from the Red Cross, hiding detainees from the Red Cross may be illegal for many reasons. One that immediately springs to mind is that the Supreme Court has ruled that detainees can have access to US courts; and if "ghost detainees" are hidden from the public and from the Red Cross, they can't have a court hearing by definition. (Pentagon officials also said so explicitly.)
As for 3), the stuff about not using methods in the army field manual, well, you can figure that one out yourself.
So here you have legislation, supported by a few maverick republicans, that in essence does nothing more than support existing law. And the administration fights members of its own party with its most mindless talking points,
that legislation on these matters would usurp the president's authority and -- in the words of a White House official -- interfere with his ability "to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack."
Impressive. Seriously. It's hard not to respect such virulent loyalty to a cause. Too bad, I suppose that the cause is so inhuman.