"I don't know what the CIA has been doing, nor should I know," - Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
Two days after the Senate compromise, it appears pretty clear that few know exactly what it prohibits, allows or changes. Some of this is inevitable. It's a very complicated legal balancing act. But some of it is deliberate: obfuscation as a way to give the executive complete lee-way. Under these circumstances, it seems clear to me that, barring absolute clarity from both sides, this bill should be shelved till the next session. No bill this complex and this unclear and this important should be rushed into law.
I might add that this position, regardless of your take on the underlying issue of torture, is the politically conservative one. The quintessential conservative virtues are not moral certainty and instant legislation but prudence and deliberation, not faith but doubt, not a rush-to-legislate but careful checks and balances. Yes, I know we're told national security is at stake. We always are. But national integrity is also at stake. And that is not something you cram down the Senate's throat in 24-hour sessions, when no one is quite sure what is being made into law. This should be the Democrats' position. It should be the Republicans' position. Why do I fear it won't be?
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