Wednesday, March 12, 2008
House Democrats failed Tuesday to override President Bush's veto of a ban on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, and they castigated the administration for subjecting prisoners to torture in the fight against terrorism.
"We are on stronger ground ethically and morally . . . when we do not torture," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said in closing the debate. "Our ability to lead the world depends not only on our military might but on our moral authority." The vote to overturn the veto, which required a two-thirds majority, fell short, 225-188.
Newly declassified statistics on the frequency of insurgent attacks in Iraq suggest that after major security gains last fall in the wake of an American troop increase, the conflict has drifted into a stalemate, with levels of violence remaining stubbornly constant from November 2007 through early 2008.
In a report presented to the Senate Appropriations Committee, [David M. ] Walker, the comptroller general, acknowledged that the insurgent attacks tallied by the American military had decreased to an average of about 60 a day in January, in the latest available count, from about 180 a day in June 2007.
But that lower number, which is roughly equivalent to the levels of violence in the spring of 2005, has remained essentially unchanged since the last significant decrease between October and November.
“While security has improved in Iraq, a permissive security environment has yet to be achieved,” Mr. Walker wrote, using a term meaning an environment safe for ordinary business and social activity.