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 Home > News & Policies > September 2006

For Immediate Release
September 15, 2006

Now and Then: Editorials on the McCain Amendment

     Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

Today, The Washington Post Editorialized That The Administration's Common Article 3 Proposal Allows For Torturing Detainees. (Editorial, "A Defining Moment For America," The Washington Post, 9/15/06)

However, The President's Proposed Legislation Clarifies Common Article 3 By Applying The McCain Amendment Prohibiting Torture To The War On Terror. The proposal clarifies our obligations under Common Article 3 by reference to the U.S. Constitutional standard already adopted in the McCain Amendment and in the U.S. Reservation to the Convention Against Torture. The McCain Amendment – which is part of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) – prohibits "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment," as defined by reference to the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, for all detainees held by the United States, regardless of nationality or geographic location.

Previously, Newspapers Including The Washington Post Editorialized In Favor Of The McCain Amendment, Saying It Would Prohibit Torture

  • The Washington Post: The McCain Amendment Should Be Supported "Without Alteration." "An amendment to the defense appropriations bill offered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and approved Wednesday night by the resounding vote of 90 to 9 would end four years of uncertainty about the rules for the military's treatment of detainees. … Defense bill conferees and the House should support the McCain amendment without alteration." (Editorial, "End The Abuse," The Washington Post, 10/7/05)
  • The Washington Post: President Bush Should "Accept Sen. John McCain's Amendment To The Defense Appropriations Bill, Which Prohibits 'Cruel, Inhuman And Degrading Treatment' For All Prisoners Held By The United States." (Editorial, "A Weak Defense," The Washington Post, 12/6/05)
  • The Washington Post: "The McCain Amendment Is A Vital, And Hard-Won, Opening Move." (Editorial, "A Blow Against Torture," The Washington Post, 12/16/05)
  • The Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen: "We Don't Want A Hanoi Hilton." "The Senate approved the amendment 90 to 9. Whatever it meant to 89 of the senators, to McCain it was simply a matter of doing to others what he would have wanted done unto him. It is, in that sense, a very old idea." (Richard Cohen, Op-Ed, "We Don't Want A Hanoi Hilton," The Washington Post, 10/27/05)
  • Los Angeles Times: "McCain's Amendment Should Be A No-Brainer." (Editorial, "Duty, Honor, Clarity," Los Angeles Times, 12/15/05)
  • Los Angeles Times: The McCain Amendment "Would Recommit The U.S. To Adherence To The Geneva Convention's Treatment Of Detainees." (Editorial, "Fighting For An Ideal," Los Angeles Times, 10/7/05)
  • The New York Times: We Share The Goal Of "McCain's Amendment Banning Torture, Abuse And Cruelty." "Senator Graham argues that the 9/11 attacks were an act of war, not a crime for American courts to judge, and he is trying to put antiterrorist operations back under the Geneva Conventions. Mr. McCain's amendment banning torture, abuse and cruelty has the same goal, and we share it." (Editorial, "Playing With Fire," The New York Times, 11/12/05)
  • The Boston Globe: "McCain's Amendment Is Overdue." (Editorial, "Torture's Evil Lure…," The Boston Globe, 11/19/05)
  • Chicago Tribune: "McCain's Amendment Should Be Adopted." "McCain's plan is clear and sensible – establish the Army Field Manual as the standard for the interrogation of all detainees in Department of Defense custody and ban 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' of prisoners." (Editorial, "A Vote On Torture," Chicago Tribune, 11/1/05)


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