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Sunday, September 17, 2006


Watch. Discuss. I'll make a prediction. People who care about liberty and the rule of law will be chilled to the marrow and filled with fiery anger. Right Wing Authoritarians, to their shame, will simply not care.



FRisson1 said...

Face the Nation had Senator LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC)Member, Armed Services Committee as a guest. I was very impressed by what he had to say and with his guts to openly oppose Bush. The following is excerpts from today's broadcast.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, the Republican rebellion on Capitol Hill. It was supposed to be the week when Republicans came together behind the president to
convince Americans they could better protect the country against terrorists than the Democrats. Instead, a nasty brawl broke out among Republicans over
the president's plans and whether they were putting American soldiers in danger.

Senator Graham, I want to talk to you first for a little bit. The president said last week that if the Congress does not write some sort of authority defining basically what the CIA can do in its interrogation, that the CIA will simply have to stop interrogating people. Number one, do you believe that's
going to happen? And number two, could you live with that if that's what it came to?

Sen. GRAHAM: Well, the problem we're facing as a nation is sort of like
seeing sausage being made, that there are three branches of government. The president assumed the Geneva Convention did not apply to the war on terror, humane treatment did. I agreed with that. The Supreme Court says the Geneva
Convention applies. So what I would like to do is give our president the
tools that we need to defend ourselves, an effective CIA program where our agents can't be prosecuted for war crimes ill-defined. They can't be sued and lose their houses because they're doing their job. They can defend themselves in court if they're ever accused of doing something by saying, `I was
following orders.' The way we do that is very important. The tools that we give them could become clubs to be used against us if we don't watch it.

SCHIEFFER: Well, we'll talk about that. What is wrong, in your view, with what the president wants to do?

Sen. GRAHAM: Well, there's two things after Hamdan decision. The first thing...

SCHIEFFER: What's Hamdan decision?

Sen. GRAHAM: That was the Supreme Court decision that struck down the
military trials of enemy terrorists.

Sen. GRAHAM: We got to deal with getting the trials back on track, and how can we interrogate people within the Geneva Convention. If it's seen that our country is trying to redefine the Geneva Convention to mit the--to meet the needs of the CIA, why can't every other country redefine the Geneva Convention
to meet the needs of their secret police? It would be disaster. We can
protect the program, the program is people, but we need not, in my opinion, go down the road of being seen as redefining treaty obligations that have been long-standing.

The Geneva Convention, Bob, is just not some concept; it has saved lives. We adhere to it, and we expect others to do it. I know al-Qaeda and Taliban will
butcher our people, but this is not the only war we're going to be in, and I can give you plenty of examples of--for downed pilots, people caught in foreign countries, who were saved from torture and death because we insisted the Geneva Convention be applied. So that's my concern. I want to create a
CIA program that fits within our domestic laws, where people won't be charged with ill-defined crimes, they won't be frivolously sued, but we cannot and must not and need not change the Geneva Convention in a way that would be perceived as backing out of it. There's a way to get there from here.

SCHIEFFER: Well, explain to me what you mean when you say if an American is captured...

Sen. GRAHAM: Let me give you a good example.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let's say in Iran. What would...

Sen. GRAHAM: Well, this war can take on many different dimensions.
Nation-states could become involved, not just rogue people like al-Qaeda and Taliban. There are CIA agents all over the world trying to protect us. What would happen if a CIA agent were captured in Iran trying to suppress their nuclear program, and the Iranian government put this person on trial as a war criminal, and the Iranian prosecutor had a file marked "secret," gave it to
their judge and their jury, and said, `Convict this man,' and they never shared the evidence with the American agent? We would go nuts. We would say that secret trial violates the Geneva Convention standards for trying people. What if the Iranians gave him a lawyer, and allowed the lawyer to look at the evidence the jury had, but would not allow the lawyer to talk to the agent about the case against him? What would we do if the Iranians sentenced an
American to death based on evidence the American never saw? We would go
crazy. Unfortunately, there's 90 percent agreement on how to do these trials after the Supreme Court ruling, but there's a provision in the military commission model of the president's proposal that would allow the jury to get evidence
not seen by the accused, call it classified, and the person go to jail never knowing what the jury convicted him of. I'm all for protecting classified information from being unfairly disclosed, but you cannot have a trial and
call it an American trial, have a Geneva Convention trial where the person goes to jail and never saw what the jury saw. What does confrontation rights mean? It means you can tell your side of the
story. Pedophiles and terrorists, everybody we try, deserves to know what they're accused of so they can defend themselves. And if we do it differently now, different than we done in 200 years, it will come back to haunt us, because other people will start doing this. And imagine an American in a foreign land going to the death chamber never seeing the evidence against them. It would be an outrage against our people, and we can't legitimize that.

Well, I think that it would be a substantive difference. If you do a trial in America where we legitimize the jury seeing something the accused can't defend himself against, it's going to come back to haunt us.

The Iranian situation could be very real in the coming future.
The worst thing we could do, in my opinion, is to create tools that are seen as legal shortcuts that erode our standing in the world. We need to change our laws to make them more clear. They are confusing. The president does need a program. The CIA does need a program to get good information. We can do that together.

My goal is simple: I want to give the tools to the president to defend us that the Congress can feel good about, that the courts will accept as legal. We need all three branches of government onboard.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you. I'll just ask you, and I'll bring in the other senators in a minute. This would seem to me to be a huge political risk for you. You come from a very conservative state, a state that is probably one of the strongest states for President Bush. You're taking on the president on this. I'll bet you that you get
a primary opponent as a result of this.

Sen. GRAHAM: Well, I'm getting pounded at home by some people, `Why can't you work with the president? The president wants to defend us. He needs--the CIA needs to get good information. These guys are barbarians. Why're you standing in the way?' I'm not standing in the way. I share the same goals.

But I'm a military lawyer, 22 years as a member of the Air Force JAG Corps. When I put that uniform on, I took an obligation as a military officer. Now I have an obligation as a senator. I admire the president and I want to help him, but the biggest risk in the world is not Lindsey Graham loses an election. We can have a good country without Lindsey Graham being in the
Senate. We cannot have a great nation when we start redefining who we are under the guise of redefining our law.

My biggest fear is that, as we try to solve these complicated legal procedures and problems, that we're seen as taking shortcuts, and we don't redefine the law, we redefine America in a way so we can't win this war. That's what Colin Powell's saying; that's what General Batiste's saying. It's not about my
political career. America can do well without me, but we cannot do well if we're seen to abandon our principals and the rule of law