Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain Supports Torture

A reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog writes in to perpetuate his delusions about John McCain's position on torture:

For obvious reasons, politics aside, McCain is an icon in our community for what he went through in Vietnam. It's been extremely uncomfortable having him implicitly come down on the side of torture. To have him state explicitly that we cannot torture, I though was a genuine, powerful and extremely important moment.
The commenter is referring to the moment in Friday night's debate when McCain said this:
So we have a long way to go in our intelligence services. We have to do a better job in human intelligence. And we've got to -- to make sure that we have people who are trained interrogators so that we don't ever torture a prisoner ever again.
This is a clear case where McCain's self-mythologizing as a "maverick" serves deception. Even Sullivan, usually an unswerving and clear-eyed opponent of torture, is unhorsed by this presentation enough to give an enfeebled reply of "I am angry that McCain betrayed the intelligence community and all of us by signing onto CIA torture in 2006" -- 2006? Maybe so -- he certainly did nothing to stop torture in 2006 -- but McCain also voted to grant the CIA the power to torture detainees in 2008.

We would like to think that a man that was himself tortured by war criminals would know better than to support torture. When he stands up in the largest possible public setting and declares that it is so, he invites us to fall prey to our hopes. But when the question has been put to McCain in a direct and unavoidable way -- when, as a Senator also seeking his party's presidential nomination -- he has sided with the pro-torture elements of his party. That he now declares the opposite signals only that he is a liar, and a liar on a matter of fundamental moral importance.


Ian McCullough said...

John McCain was not tortured, he underwent enhanced interrogation.

Dale said...

Ian, yes of course: "enhanced interrogation." I hate the thought that I might hurt the feelings of McCain's VietCong captors. I'll try to be more careful.