Most people are aware of how "pork-barrel" spending bills that may not be popular outside of a representatives constituency get through Congress on the backs of other more popular legislative acts, but it is not always about spending. It the case of the REAL ID act being placed on a military funding bill, it was made into law despite the objections of the majority of Americans.
The Homeland Security Appropriations Act has done a similar misdeed, by including a law that allows prisoner abuse to be covered up, something no honest American would have allowed to stand on its own. But like the REAL ID act it will be signed into law by the President and although it may ultimately prove unconstitutional, it will be quite an uphill court battle to get it overturned.
Although the courts ordered the DoD to release documents and photos of prisoner abuse pertinent to lawsuit filed by the ACLU, and according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, "After a court ordered the Bush administration to respond to the request, the Defense Department acknowledged the existence of the prisoner-abuse photos but sought to withhold them from the public on the grounds that their disclosure could provoke violence against U.S. troops and others in Afghanistan and Iraq."
This legislation is passed as expected by the Senate will basically let Congress and the new Administration off the hook, and allow both the abuse and the cover-ups to continue. I urge readers to write to their elected representatives in both houses and demand that this is stricken from the bill, as it allows the DoD to circumvent the rights of prisoners that were guaranteed by the Geneva Convention and by our own Constitution.
I know that there are many who will claim that our enemies do not follow those laws and treat our troops in captivity poorly. But we must be held accountable and set a better example of higher standards rather than than stoop to a level that is beneath our own principles of morality and human rights.
Lead by example and not by force.