The bipartisan amendment of banning torture during interrogation of detainees has been passed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. The brutal techniques practiced by George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks have been stopped by Barack Obama in 2009.
The U.S. Senate had voted 78-21, with support from the entire Democrat caucus with an addition of 32 Republican votes.
Barack Obama has issued an executive order signed in 2009 to stop any further use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on detainees. However, being an executive order, this could easily be changed under the command of a new President. Taking the appropriate measures legislators found it necessary to put the bill into law and make it hard for change.
However, the bill will become law when both chambers of Congress approve it. Both Senate and the House of Representatives must vote for it to be taken to the President to sign it.
The amendment proposed by co-sponsors Republican John McCain and Democrat Dianne Feinstein has been put under a lot of criticism from the Republican Party. John McCain, who was tortured during the Vietnamese war in the 60s, has been trying to end this kind of interrogation procedures for a long time since then. Senator Dianne Feinstein the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating the CIA interrogation techniques for a long time and six months ago has issued a report about known brutal procedures that include ‘rectal feeding’ and ‘waterboarding’.
The criticism aimed at the amendment has been focused on Democrats, alleging that the amendment was only proposed because the interrogations in question have been used under George W. Bush’s Presidency. Feinstein has stated that Obama’s order is only guaranteed if a future President decides to leave it in place and that CIA can continue using the techniques because they can use legal opinions to justify them, the same way as it happened under George W. Bush.
According to Reuters, Republican John McCain has succeeded in his long term goal of ending this practice. He stated the “This amendment provides greater assurances that never again will the United States follow the dark path of sacrificing our values for our short-term security needs.”
Democrats have been in support of the amendments, but some Republican Presidential candidates do not want the bill to become law. Marco Rubio condemns it and thinks that the security of Americans is threatened when intelligence officers do not have this kind of important tools in questioning terrorists.
The bill, besides the restriction of interrogation techniques, contains a clause to give the International Community of the Red Cross full access to detainees which are in U.S. government custody. The amendment would turn Barack Obama’s executive order containing both components into law. With this American legislation comes closer to the Geneva Convention.