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Bush assertions on right to waive torture ban slammed by top Republicans

[JURIST] Three leading Republican senators, John W. Warner (R-VA) [official profile], John McCain (R-AZ) [official profile], and Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC) [official profile], on Wednesday condemned President Bush's statement that he can bypass the newly-passed ban [JURIST report] on torture [JURIST news archive] under his commander in chief powers. The statement [JURIST document] made by Bush when he signed the 2006 defense spending bill [JURIST report] last week, that he can waive the restrictions on the use of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment against detainees to protect national security, was contained in a "signing statement," or official document in which a president voices his interpretation of a new law. A joint statement [text] issued by Senators Warner and McCain, the lawmakers said:

We believe the President understands Congress’s intent in passing by very large majorities legislation governing the treatment of detainees included in the 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations and Authorization bills. The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation. Our Committee intends through strict oversight to monitor the Administration’s implementation of the new law.
Senator Graham echoed the sentiment, adding "I do not believe that any political figure in the country has the ability to set aside any . . . law of armed conflict that we have adopted or treaties that we have ratified." The Boston Globe has more.

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