McCain’s Rejection of Torture Puts Brakes on Neocon Assault: We heard from Marcy that John McCain had a decent op-ed today in the Washington Post, denouncing torture and laying out the facts on the role of torture. He affirmed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed lied under torture about key facts related to the courier which harbored bin Laden, and he also provided more information on subsequent intelligence from other sources, none of which, he says, was gained through torture.
But he didn’t stop there. McCain took to the Senate floor and spoke for 20 minutes on the same subject today. He criticized sharply the stance that torture yields good intelligence, and added that it harms our effort in both counter-terrorism and the greater Muslim world. The most important part of the op-ed was the acknowledgement that the Arab uprising, not bin Laden, is the most important world-historical event we have to get right at this time....
The problem is that McCain wants to indemnify those who tortured and those who authorized it from any prosecution or accountability. This makes a mockery of those ideals he professes, which after all include the rule of law.
I suppose I’ll take what I can get here from McCain, especially as it’s not like there’s anyone in Washington who’s moving on prosecutions. What’s more, this really debilitates the revival of torture from the Bush Administration rejects. McCain is the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee. He’s going to lead the questioning of Leon Panetta when he has a confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary. The lack of consensus from Republicans at the highest levels will make it very hard for them to make an issue out of it in the hearings.
McCain hasn’t done a lot of noble things over the past several years, but at least he looked to his own experience and could state unequivocally that torture is not just unhelpful, but simply wrong.