Thursday, May 22, 2008

Picking the President: Torture and Guantanamo Bay

With respect to U.S. policy towards enemy combatants, Sen. Clinton generally opposes violations of the Geneva Conventions on torturing detainees, but has said that she might make an exception if use of such techniques would guarantee the safety of American lives. She also co-sponsored a bill that would have closed the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, and voted against suspending the writ of habeas corpus for captured suspected terrorists.

Sen. McCain argues that the U.S. should be a “champion of the Geneva Conventions” in order to show its full support for international human rights, and when pressed has refused to say he would authorize the use of torture, even in the “ticking time-bomb” scenario.He also sponsored an amendment in the Senate that would establish limits for the techniques able to be used for interrogation by American troops and officials. While McCain has lauded the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, he also has said that the military prison there should be shut down.

While he has not been questioned on the “ticking time-bomb scenario,” Sen. Obama is an opponent of violating the Geneva Convention regulations on interrogation techniques. He also voted against the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus for Guantanamo Bay inmates and allowed them to be tried in military tribunals. However, he supports the ability to use military tribunals for enemy detainees in general. He has pledged to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Point to McCain, who voted for the Military Commissions Act. In certain situations, safety takes priority over civil liberties. Suspected terrorists should not have habeas corpus.

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