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Graham Throws Rahm a Bone, McCain-Lieberman Detainee Bill Under the Bus (Updated)

Sen. Lindsey Graham at Davos, Switzerland (photo: World Economic Forum via Flickr)

So, here’s where Lindsey Graham shows Rahm Emanuel that he represents some value-added on detainee issues to the Obama administration.

John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced a bill today — the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010 — that authorizes indefinite detention without charge for terrorism detainees. (Or, as McCain put it, “authorize detention of enemy belligerents without criminal charges for the duration of the hostilities consistent with standards under the law of war which have been recognized by the Supreme Court.”) While McCain and Lieberman are usually Graham’s main Senate allies on security stuff, look what Graham told Fox:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an Air Force Reserves Judge Advocate General, told Fox he usually “understands what John and Joe are trying to do,” but he added, “I just don’t feel comfortable with it. There is a role for the civilian courts to play.”

And that’s what we call water-carrying. Graham’s opposition should be enough to cut the bill off at the pass.

It’s that kind of evening and I’m in that kind of mood, so I’m going to ask just how much water Graham actually carried. This bill was never going to pass, although, in fairness, it could have been (or might still be!) politically troublesome as long as the Democrats choose to remain supine on security issues. So now Graham visibly goes to bat for the administration’s right to try detainees in the federal courts — yes, this is how far we’ve sunk — and so Rahm gets to use that in internal discussions with, like, Eric Holder and David Axelrod for why all roads to closing Guantanamo Bay go through the stand-up G Lindsey Graham. You can almost feel that military commission for KSM coming closer… closer… closer…

You don’t think McCain and Lieberman teed up Graham for this, do you? Naahhhhh…. (Like I said, it’s that kind of night.)

[Update: It’s the morning after that kind of night, and this story is moving–and not in a good direction. Cynthia has more at The Seminal–Ed.]

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