Senator John McCain Correct About Torture Being Wrong Policy


The one line from an amazing speech on the Senate floor Thursday from Senator John McCain needs to be known to all.

“In short, it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden.”

I was very pleased with the words, tone, and message that McCain used.  I wish he could be like this everyday, as the nation needs real leadership from the Republican side of the aisle.

McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has always opposed the U.S. use of waterboarding and other abusive techniques employed after the 9/11 attacks—banned by President Obama when he took office–to elicit information from detainees.

What McCain was stating is quite simple.  There is no no place for torture in the military arena.  None.

We are better than those in the world who do employ such tactics.  I am still one of those who actually does think my country, even though we have made some grievous errors, is still a truly remarkable place, and a sign of hope to many others around the globe.  To lower our standards and employ the most degrading and dehumanizing methods to illicit information, which very well may be faulty and unusable, is a vile exercise.

3 thoughts on “Senator John McCain Correct About Torture Being Wrong Policy

  1. I agree with this post in most particulars, except for a verb tense (and the misuse of “illicit” when you meant “elicit.”) You see, we have already slipped from our high horse.

    “We are better than those in the world who do employ such tactics.”

    No. We are no better than the others in the world who torture prisoners. Arguably we have been better, back in the day when we obeyed the Geneva conventions regarding the treatment of POWs. I’d also suggest that you weaken your argument when you qualify the information acquired from torture as perhaps “faulty and unusable.” If the information were flawless and actionable would this justify using torture as the means to extract it?

    John McCain is a poor source for moral authority in this regard anyway. As a victim of torture he certainly knows how it feels, but in Viet Nam while our enemies were crippling McCain by torture, we ourselves were pushing our enemies out of helicopters in an effort to elicit information from the lucky ones still alive. Our use of torture forty years ago, and our support of our ally’s use of torture had already compromised the moral authority to which we then pretended.

  2. I am not in any way a supporter of using torture. One of the points made for torture from conservatives is that it provides useful information. Over time I have read a number of articles that proves the info gained is “faulty and unusable”. That in no way makes me a supporter of torture, but merely making a point why torture does not work.

    Quick sidenote: “illicit” or “elicit” was done by the writer for the LA Times where this story came form.

  3. Reggie Greene

    Although I neither have first-hand experience nor research to support this notion, I strongly suspect that since time immemorial, certain forces of EVERY state have used tactics which clearly constituted torture (no matter how defined) and shocked the conscience, although many (for various reasons) have chosen not to do so openly.

    However, that we live in a society capable of public introspection may be just good enough, for now, especially with other issues on our plate.
    It’s what helps form the “collective conscience” that all societies need, but do not have.

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