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Does John McCain Really Have To Remind You About Torture Again, You A**holes?
We are, on the whole, not huge fans of John McCain here at Yr Wonkette. There's the angry mood swings -- mostly from one variety of anger to another; the petulance; the desire to bomb America's way to greatness again; and of course the fact that he inflicted that vice-presidential candidate of his on America. But for all that, we'll also give him credit for having always been solid on why America shouldn't use torture: not only does it not work, it's just plain un-American. If there's one thing he actually earned from those FIVE AND A HALF YEARS ALAN, it's credibility on the topic of torture.
This has not always earned him the respect of other conservative luminaries. Recall, for instance, the time in 2008 that Bill O'Reilly, who understands the torturer's perspective, shook his face in McCain's face and explained that sometimes we just need to waterboard some people because they are bad people, regardless of whether it leads to Americans being tortured:
That's the part of John McCain we actually rather like, and that fragment took to the Senate floor today to support the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the use of torture by the CIA. McCain said that releasing the report was necessary, no matter how uncomfortable it might make some of those who authorized torture and carried it out:
"It is a thorough and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose – to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the U.S. and our allies – but actually damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world.
“I believe the American people have a right – indeed, a responsibility – to know what was done in their name; how these practices did or did not serve our interests; and how they comported with our most important values.
McCain rejected the claim -- already making up roughly 134 percent of Fox News programming today -- that using torture was just what we needed to do to keep America safe:
“I have long believed some of these practices amounted to torture, as a reasonable person would define it, especially, but not only the practice of waterboarding, which is a mock execution and an exquisite form of torture. Its use was shameful and unnecessary; and, contrary to assertions made by some of its defenders and as the Committee’s report makes clear, it produced little useful intelligence to help us track down the perpetrators of 9/11 or prevent new attacks and atrocities.
“I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering. Most of all, I know the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights, which are protected by international conventions the U.S. not only joined, but for the most part authored.
McCain also debunked some of the CIA's claims that torture resulted in any useful intelligence:
“There was considerable misinformation disseminated then about what was and wasn’t achieved using these methods in an effort to discourage support for the legislation. There was a good amount of misinformation used in 2011 to credit the use of these methods with the death of Osama bin Laden. And there is, I fear, misinformation being used today to prevent the release of this report, disputing its findings and warning about the security consequences of their public disclosure.
Is it possible that The Enemy might react to the report's release by attacking Americans? Well, yes, says McCain, but then again, that's kind of their thing. That's what makes them terrorists. Besides, it's not like the world didn't already know that we waterboarded, had black sites, and played fast and loose with the Geneva Convention:
“Terrorists might use the report’s re-identification of the practices as an excuse to attack Americans, but they hardly need an excuse for that. That has been their life’s calling for a while now.
“What might come as a surprise, not just to our enemies, but to many Americans, is how little these practices did to aid our efforts to bring 9/11 culprits to justice and to find and prevent terrorist attacks today and tomorrow. That could be a real surprise, since it contradicts the many assurances provided by intelligence officials on the record and in private that enhanced interrogation techniques were indispensable in the war against terrorism. And I suspect the objection of those same officials to the release of this report is really focused on that disclosure – torture’s ineffectiveness – because we gave up much in the expectation that torture would make us safer. Too much.
We're guessing that a few heads at Fox News will be exploding at McCain's invocation of America's founding document and his suggestion that our best values should even inform our behavior when we're at war with very bad people:
When we fight to defend our security we fight also for an idea, not for a tribe or a twisted interpretation of an ancient religion or for a king, but for an idea that all men are endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights.
Somewhere out there, there are going to be some very butthurt patriots seething at McCain for desecrating the sacred E Plebnista by suggesting that even Bad Muslim Terrorists have the right to be treated as if they were humans.
So there's John McCain actually impressing us for a change. We're now just waiting for him to return to his usual petulant self and to call for bombing the hell out of somebody. He hates torture, but he's pretty OK with shrapnel. And also get ready for the usual collection of shitbirds -- we're looking at you, Rick Santorum -- to explain that John McCain just doesn't understand torture and why we really need to use it.