The Senate approved an amendment Tuesday that would make it harder for future presidents to torture prisoners like the CIA did during the Bush Administration. As written, it “does not directly confront all the ways the CIA might try to circumvent U.S. torture rules,” Joshua Keating writes, “but it is an important step toward ensuring that the worst abuses committed by U.S. personnel after 9/11 won’t be repeated—even if those who did the torturing won’t be punished.”
Before the vote, I argued that it should be regarded as a moral test and a reaffirmation of a civilizational taboo. Now let’s take note of who passed that test and who failed it. The amendment passed 78 to 21. All 44 Democrats in the Senate voted for it.
Among Republicans, the amendment still won a majority, 32 to 21 with one not voting: Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is vying to win the GOP presidential nomination.
Though the U.S. illegally tortured prisoners, some of them innocent, in the recent past—and even though none of those instances of torture took place in a ticking time-bomb scenario, the absurd hypothetical that torture apologists are always raising—these Senators have cast a key vote against important anti-torture safeguards.