Republican Senators are still resisting President Bush's demand to "clarify" the Geneva Conventions so the CIA can be tough on prisoners in the war on terror. What does he mean by "alternative interrogation techniques?" How are they different from torture? Is there excessive concern for prisoners' health and safety? Also, President Bush meets with Palestinian President Abbas, and yesterday's coup in Thailand. What's the future of democracy for an important US ally?
FROM THIS EPISODE
Yesterday, President Bush told the United Nations that peace between Israel and the Palestinians was one of the great objectives of his presidency. Today, he held a private meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. One of the most startling aspect of the meeting, perhaps, is what was not discussed.
Benny Avni, UN Correspondent for the New York Sun
The US Supreme Court says that the Geneva Conventions apply to suspects in the war on terror. Common Article 3 prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." In a dispute with Republican Senators, including John McCain, President Bush says that's too "vague" to protect CIA interrogators from being sued for abusing prisoners in the war on terror, and says he'll call off the interrogations unless Congress writes "clarity" into the law. In the meantime, the Army's top uniformed lawyer, Major General Scott Black, has written to the dissenting Senators that redefining the Conventions "is unnecessary and could be seen as a weakening of our treaty obligations." What does the President mean by "alternative interrogation techniques?" How are they different from torture? Is the US being tough enough to protect American safety?
Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
Richard Miniter, Adjunct Fellow, Hudson Institute
Geoffrey Corn, Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law
Brad Berenson, Former Associate White House Counsel to President Bush
The King of Thailand has blessed yesterday's military coup by appointing its leading general as head of a so-called "council of administrative reform." The replacement of democracy with military rule has been bloodless, so far, but it raises questions about who is running an important US ally. While American tourists might not be affected by the political instability, it's quite another story for investors and Western governments.
Megan Cossey, Freelance reporter in Bangkok, Thailand