Thursday, February 21, 2008

All you need to know about John McCain 2

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(This will be an ongoing series at The Reaction. AYNTKAJM 1 is here.)

From Think Progress:

Last week, the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill — which contained a provision banning waterboarding — to the floor for a vote. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), an outspoken waterboarding critic, voted against the bill.

At the time, ThinkProgress questioned whether McCain would stand with Bush’s threatened veto of the legislation. Today, the AP reports that McCain has come out saying Bush should veto the measure, which would make the Army Field Manual the standard for CIA interrogations.


But the vote was not “in keeping” with McCain’s unclear record on torture; in the past, McCain called waterboarding a “terrible and odious practice” that “should never be condoned in the U.S.”

McCain is trying to have it both ways. He claims the CIA should not use “cruel” or “unusual” interrogations, but he is defending Bush’s veto, a clear approval of waterboarding.

Furthermore, what are these “additional techniques” outside the Field Manual that McCain thinks the CIA needs? Marty Lederman noted that the CIA can currently use “stress positions, hypothermia, threats to the detainee and his family, severe sleep deprivation, and severe sensory deprivation.”

A veto would mean the “CIA will continue to assert the right to use all of these techniques.” In standing with Bush’s veto, does McCain, a former prisoner of war, support these types of harsh interrogations, too?

Apparently so. Now that he is, or soon will be, the Republican nominee for president, McCain is evidently looking to appeal to the torture enthusiasts of the right, and, to that end, he seems to be willing to toss his principles, or whatever passed for them, into the dustbin of his own maverick history. In calling on the president to veto this legislation, McCain is signalling that he is now one of those enthusiasts, at least on the campaign trail, and that he approves of the use of torture -- that is, what he deceptively calls "additional techniques".

For more, see Paul Kiel at TPM (who notes that McCain also said that, as president, he would veto legislation, not attach Bush-style signing statements -- which, give him some credit, is a positive commitment), Mark Silva at The Swamp, and Derrick Jackson at the Globe.

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  • McCain seems to have the backbone of an amoeba and of course they're not mentioning his background of corruption either.

    Perhaps the recent nonsense about how he may have had an affair is deliberate; an attempt to portray dislike for McCain as "liberal hypocrisy" and thus distract us from the hypocrisy of McCain and other minor things like the Keating Five scandal.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:50 AM  

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