Thursday, December 11, 2014

John McCain: Torture "Stained Our National Honor"

Though he shares the neocons' warmongering propensities, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) parts with them in one important way: he is firmly opposed to torture. Dick Cheney received five deferments during the Vietnam War yet sent over 1.5 million young people to an unnecessary war in Iraq and called the torture report "full of crap." McCain, in contrast, was a prisoner of war who was tortured by the North Vietnamese in the "Hanoi Hilton." He has a moral clarity about torture that his fellow Republicans lack. McCain defended the Senate Intelligence Committee's CIA torture report with an eloquent statement, in which he stated that torture "stained our national honor, did much harm and little practical good." Watch:

McCain: The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. It sometimes causes us difficulties at home and abroad. It is sometimes used by our enemies in attempts to hurt us. But the American people are entitled to it, nonetheless.

They must know when the values that define our nation are intentionally disregarded by our security policies, even those policies that are conducted in secret. They must be able to make informed judgments about whether those policies and the personnel who supported them were justified in compromising our values; whether they served a greater good; or whether, as I believe, they stained our national honor, did much harm and little practical good.

What were the policies? What was their purpose? Did they achieve it? Did they make us safer? Less safe? Or did they make no difference? What did they gain us? What did they cost us? The American people need the answers to these questions. Yes, some things must be kept from public disclosure to protect clandestine operations, sources and methods, but not the answers to these questions.

By providing them, the Committee has empowered the American people to come to their own decisions about whether we should have employed such practices in the past and whether we should consider permitting them in the future. This report strengthens self-government and, ultimately, I believe, America’s security and stature in the world. I thank the Committee for that valuable public service.

1 comment:

Michael J. Mand said...

As you point out, McCain knows first hand all too well how detrimental our torturing prisoners is to our ultimate safety.