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Exercise in Futility

I'm back to my one trick pony propensity again but given the serious of the subject matter -- the subjection to and potential cover up of the torture of US detainees -- I feel a bit of harping is warranted. But as with most things the Congress does these days, they just aren't thinking far enough ahead.

Yesterday, the House took the advice of a phalanx of retired Army and Navy officers to ignoring President Bush's threat to veto and passed by a ban on the practice of waterboarding.
The House approved legislation yesterday that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, drawing an immediate veto threat from the White House and setting up another political showdown over what constitutes torture.

The measure, approved by a largely party-line vote of 222 to 199, would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow Army rules adopted last year that explicitly forbid waterboarding. It also would require interrogators to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. The rules, required by Congress for all Defense Department personnel, also ban sexual humiliation, "mock" executions and the use of attack dogs, and prohibit the withholding of food and medical care.

The measure still must make it through the Senate, which given that some members have already signaled their willingness to downplay even the most heinous of practices, remains very much in doubt.

But even if it were to reach full passage, it would be -- as my post title suggests -- utterly meaningless. For you see the Congress has already affirmed such a ban. It was a little thing called the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. And we all remember how long that "ban" lasted (hint: as long as it took the ink to dry on the "Only if I want to" note Bush attached to it).

So while we can applaud Congress for once again seeking to clear up the issue of just which practices are acceptable but we must realize that until we banish the Bogart, this latest affirmation won't matter one bit.

More from DHinMI and Carpetbagger.

Blog Thanks: Salon's Blog Report for linking to the ASZ of this post.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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