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Friday, September 15, 2006

Fourth Circuit Nominee Haynes Still Actively Pushing "Alternative Set of Procedures"

The AP reports that embattled Fourth Circuit nominee William "Jim" Haynes II was the author of a draft letter expressing "forceful support" for the administration's new, controversial detainee interrogation proposal. Administration officials spent five hours the other night pressuring top military lawyers to sign the letter. Haynes' apparent role in pushing the administration's bill is, of course, the same kind of thing that has dogged his nomination ever since documents revealed that he helped craft the interrogation policies that led to abuses in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Those policies, which violated U.S. and international law, have been repudiated and rescinded, but the Bush administration -- again with Haynes' help -- is now trying to win Congressional approval for enabling CIA interrogators to revive them.

Haynes' draft letter -- and the administration's arm-twisting -- proved too much, though. The military lawyers would only agree to sign a significantly revised letter, one that offers only tepid (and vague) support for certain sections of Bush's proposal.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is still in the mix, exposing the administration's strong-arm tactics and co-sponsoring a competing plan, voted favorably out of the Armed Services Committee yesterday [link]. That plan refuses to weaken American obligations under the Geneva Conventions and addresses concerns like those expressed the other day by Former Secretary of State Colin Powell:
I do not support [the administration's proposal]. ... The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk.

Unfortunately, Mr. Haynes appears not to see things this way. Still.

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