The Interrogation Question

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photoOn the U.S. Senate floor last week, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain introduced an amendment to prohibit the "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of prisoners held abroad by the US Military." It passed by an overwhelming majority: the final vote was ninety to nine.

Here was a Republican — a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq — drawing a moral line on post 9-11 "gloves off" interrogation techniques. Those techniques yielded the haunting, and damning, imagery from Abu Greib. They are techniques that, according to Senator McCain, result in bad intelligence, danger to our troops, and a hobbling of our own moral standing in the world war of ideas.

The White House helped defeat nearly the same amendment in July, and is still threatening a veto. But political winds of change have blown through Washington this fall, and the acrid smell of prisoner abuse still hangs in the air.

Hear about the fine line in the war on terror between security and human rights, and how that line is being drawn on Capitol Hill.


Eric Schmitt, reporter for te New York Times

Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down"

John Hutson, president of Franklin Pierce Law Center and former Judge Advocate General for the U.S. Navy.

This program aired on October 10, 2005.


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