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I'd been sitting out this particular brawl, given that so many lefty bloggers were weighing in.

Yesterday, I got drawn in by Jonathan's piece headed Pro-Geneva Convention Coalition Nears Filibuster-Proof Margin.

Now, since, on the whole, lefties tend to support the Geneva Conventions, and because of the filibuster-proof bit, I concluded that Jonathan was saying that the coalition -

The coalition of Democratic Senators and a handful of Republicans -- most notably John Warner, Lindsey Graham and John McCain -- opposed to President Bush's reinterpretation of the Geneva Convention's requirement for fair trials and prohibition against torture...

- was a jolly fine thing worthy of MyDDers support.

I put in a caveat downthread that the Warner bill S 3901(the one apparently supported by this pro-Geneva coalition) wasn't obviously different from the House bill that gives the White House what it wants.

Now, it's the most soul-destroying job in the world (for a comfortably situated white boy, at least!) to compare two pretty similar bills and play spot the difference - most particularly when you know that folks far more knowledgeable than you are are doing the selfsame thing at that very time!

But from what I've read, the differences between the bills, while material, are hardly earthshattering.

For example, this piece from Tom Paine says

he bill, sponsored by Senator Warner and championed by McCain and Graham, contains better military commission procedures, provisions the administration has resisted. And for that, sections of the bill should be applauded.  Unlike the administration's proposed legislation, the Warner bill would not permit defendants to be convicted based on evidence gleaned by torture. Nor would it allow defendants to be excluded from large portions of their own trials.

On the other hand, we have
Section 6, which seeks to end any and all judicial review of overseas detention of non-citizens.

And, in addition, the bill's definition of hostilities -
A provision of the bill defines "unlawful enemy combatants" to include those "engaged in hostilities against the United States."

- could justify the detention of US citizens as well as non-citizens.

I'd say that was quite enough to warrant lefties - and Dem MCs most particularly - being very reluctant to accept the Warner compromise bill without a whole lot more study and reflection.

(We know that the current regime will take a yard if you give it an inch. And even a Dem regime can hardly be assumed trustworthy if written a black check.)

But it seems that, right now, there's a mood amongst Dem MCs to go with the Warner bill - for example, apparently Ike Skelton offered the Warner bill as a substitute amendment during the HASC markup of HR 6054 which was

rejected [] on a straight party-line vote

The framing is the simplest in the world: Warner is the compromise bill - it's Gang of 14 time again. (The Times today, for instance.)

Which makes any MCs opposing the bill opposed to compromise, bomb-throwers, egomaniacs, un-American, etc, etc.

Which Dem MCs have been speaking out against a precipitate decision on legislation under the gun of the November elections?

What is the big hurry with this bill? Is it simply that Bush is worried about the 110th falling into Dem hands?

How bad would the Warner bill really be from his viewpoint? Was the admin bill always just a negotiating position? (Do I even need to ask?)

What sort of timetable for floor action in each house are we looking at?

Originally posted to skeptic06 on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 03:12 PM PDT.

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