One thing that changed after 9/11 is this: we now live in a twilight zone where it’s possible that a senator, John McCain, in expressing qualms at the Bush administration’s determination to interpret the Geneva conventions at whim, can be seen as hurting his own presidential prospects. See this Washington Post piece, titled, “McCain’s Stand On Detainees May Pose Risk For 2008 Bid.”
The Geneva Conventions say wartime detainees must be “treated humanely.” Bush says the United States complies so long as CIA interrogators abide by a 2005 law barring “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of captives. McCain and his allies say that the requirement is too narrow, and that they are concerned Bush’s approach would invite other nations to interpret the conventions in lax ways that could lead to abusive treatment of captive U.S. troops.
A Republican strategist tells the Post, “The politics of this for [McCain] are pretty dangerous. This is an issue that’s the most important issue to the Republican base overall, and they’re strongly with the president on this.”
All of which goes to show that whatever changed after 9/11, very little has changed–at least not for the better–since Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.