October 10th, 2006

listening

Note from Senator Stabenow - her perspective on the Military Commissions Act

Thank you . . .

. . for contacting me about the Military Commissions Act of 2006. I understand your deeply held beliefs regarding this bill and your distrust of the Bush Administration which I share.

As you may know, the Supreme Court's Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision found the President's military tribunals unconstitutional. This decision created a void with no judicial process in place for the detainees who our country has been holding indefinitely.

I understand the distrust of the Bush Administration which has frankly shown a flagrant disregard for the law. However, having no law in place would have given this administration continued justification to act without any accountability.

This proposal puts in place protections that do not exist today for detainees and is a better system than the one proposed by the President. I strongly opposed the President's attempts to undermine the Geneva Convention. This bill does not amend the Geneva Convention in any way. This proposal puts in place specific protections against torture, providing needed clarification on what constitutes war crimes and criminalizing specific interrogation techniques.

Could this bill be improved? Absolutely. I supported every Democratic amendment to tighten definitions and strengthen this legislation. Unfortunately, we lost them in close votes. I will continue to work with my colleagues to modify the law, and am hopeful that with changes in the new Congress, we will be successful in making these needed improvements.

There is no question that Congress will need to continue its oversight role of this Administration. While we may respectfully disagree about this bill, my vote was based on the sincere belief that ignoring the Hamdan decision and passing no legislation was not an option. If we had not passed this bill, our military would not have been able to move forward with trials against suspected terrorists now in U.S. custody.

Thanks for sharing your views with me on this legislation. As always, I welcome your input.

Sincerely,

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator
Brian and Anne

First Guitar Class, Followed by Tuesday at Tios

Today I had my first in a series of ten class sessions at the WCC in guitar playing. Happily, Katherine Becker is taking the class too, so we sat together as we learned chords and some strumming patterns. It was a little frustrating because my guitar, which is a very old classical guitar, hadn't been tuned in a long time and wouldn't hold its tuning. I tried not to be obnoxious re-tuning it during class, but I thought that was less obnoxious than playing horribly out of tune chords. The instructor thought maybe it was just the strings stretching, but I think I want a steel string anyway for the narrower neck, so I'll probably go buy an entry level guitar soon.

I will actually miss next week's lesson, 'cause I'll be in San Francisco, but after that I hope to make the rest. I'll try to practice, too. And I'll probably also make a regular habit of heading over to Tios afterwards with Kathy to get a bite to eat and see the folks who converge there on Tuesdays. It was nice to see everyone.