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Public Statements

Military Commissions Act Of 2006

Location: Washington, DC

MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - September 27, 2006)


Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this measure which will not preserve principles of justice upon which this Nation was founded. How true we are to our ideals affects the clarity and decisiveness with which our soldiers can act, the safety of our troops, the motivation of our potential enemies, and the behavior of our actual enemies.

This bill provides protections that are vague, slippery and imprecise. It is subject to interpretation by the President, by the Secretary of Defense, by our commanders in the theaters of operation, by our troops in the field, by our friends and enemies around the world.

We need a bill that does at least two things. It should provide a clear set of guidelines consistent with American principles such as in our revised Army Field Manual; guidelines that apply to all U.S. Government personnel, on how to treat prisoners; guidelines that preserve our principles.

Second, it should include verification mechanisms to monitor how prisoners and detainees are treated. One of those mechanisms is already in use by police departments and prosecutors across the country: the videotaping of interrogations.

Videotaping has proven to be extremely effective at preventing not just abuse of detainees but also false allegations of abuse by detainees against their interrogators. The practice aids in interrogation, and it protects the enforcers, the prosecutors, the defendants and, hence, protects all of us. By not including such a provision in the bill, the drafters missed a real opportunity to ensure that we prevent serious problems in the future.

Last night in the Rules Committee, I offered an amendment that would have replaced a few critical provisions of H.R. 6166 with text that Senators WARNER, MCCAIN, and GRAHAM put forward two weeks ago emphatically supporting the principle that everyone, even detainees in Guantanamo, should be allowed to examine and respond to all evidence presented against them at trial. Of course, The Rules Committee denied Members the opportunity to vote on this and other amendments on the floor today.



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