Interrogation debate delays field manual

May 11, 2006 at 7:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- Questions about authorizing torture have delayed the release of the updated U.S. Army Field Manual.

Critics say allowing different rules for treatment of prisoners who were part of an irregular force opens the door to violations of the torture ban passed by Congress, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The Defense Department began revising the field manual after the Abu Ghraib scandal. At the same time, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced legislation that bans "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment," requires uniform standards for all detainees and makes the Army Field Manual the standard for interrogation techniques.

The Bush administration argues that irregular soldiers are not covered by the Geneva Convention and that fighting the war on terror demands a different standard for questioning them.

The Times said the Defense Department has so far shown the manual only to a few senior senators and has not released details on what interrogation techniques would be allowed.

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