Friday, May 22, 2009

Quote of the Day: McCain on Cheney and torture

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, here's some of what McCain had to say about Cheney and the torture policies of the Bush Administration:

[Cheney] believes that waterboarding doesn't fall under the Geneva Conventions and that it's not a form of torture. But you know, it goes back to the Spanish Inquisition.

This is what the current torture debate needs to be about. Not what Pelosi knew, and when, and not within the manufactured culture of fear drummed up by the right -- this is the Republican narrative. No, it needs, again, to be about the illegal, immoral torture regime established under Bush-Cheney.

Did the U.S. torture? Yes. The contradiction on the right is that what was done didn't amount to torture, yet at the same time what are euphemistically called enhanced interrogation techniques are necessary weapons in the war on terror. So the right, the defenders of such illegality and immorality, is simultaneously claiming that it isn't torture but that torture, of a kind, is also necessary.

Americans are divided on the issue of enhanced interrogation techniques, but I'm not sure they know the truth. Indeed, I suspect that many Americans have bought into the right-wing spin: The world is like 24, on the brink, apocalypse right around the corner, and the only way to defend America is to act with brutal force, to torture. The world is not like this, however, and Cheney didn't promote torture because it was necessary but because, evidently, he believed in it (and still does), that is, because he wanted the U.S. to torture, because he wanted torture to be a key element of U.S. national security. He may comfort himself with the delusion that torture isn't torture, but those in the know, including John McCain, who himself was tortured, know better.

So let Cheney defend his torture. Let him defend what he did. The debate should be about him, about what he did, about what the U.S. did on his watch.

Is Cheney's America really the America Americans want to call their own?

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