Saturday, August 30, 2008

KYM: McCain knows torture doesn't work. So why is he for it?

On a few occasions over the past couple of weeks, I have mentioned an initiative with respect to going on the attack against John McCain. With that, I have created a Google Group called "Know Your McCain" and we are looking to gather information (old and new), create viral videos, write blog posts and use social networking to spread the message about how dangerous John McCain is.

You can look for diaries with the tag "Know Your McCain", and some diaries will have the "Know Your McCain" in the title as well. If you are interested in joining the Google Group or helping out with the Facebook group, please send me an email (address is in my profile).


There are some Vietnam veterans groups who are looking to attack McCain based on the “collaboration” that he gave his captors. While I am not going to give any opinion on whether McCain’s statements or “broadcasts” are off limits, or even relevant, I think there is a much deeper issue here that needs to be explored. And since things have to be boiled down to bite size pieces so that many people can understand it, I’ll just state the following:

  • John McCain was tortured (even though it wouldn’t count as torture under the Bush/Gonzales/Yoo definitions);

  • John McCain knowingly made false statements to his captors while in Vietnam, even though it was used as propaganda (i.e., he didn’t materially “help” them and therefore the word “treason” should not come into play here); and

  • John McCain knows that it is easy to provide information while being tortured that is unreliable.

So, with these very basic conclusions that I think pretty much anyone can agree with – the big question is why, knowing all of this, does John McCain still think that torture is ok?

This speaks directly to McCain’s character. He knows what torture can do to an individual. He knows that it is unreliable (forgetting everything that is out there about the unreliability of information provided under torture). And yet, he still voted for continuing torture of detainees.

More than once. Especially when he – of all people – was in a position to use his experience as a POW to do something for the good of the country, as opposed to using it for cynical and craven political reasons the way he has over the past few months.

There are really only two reasons why McCain, a man who himself was tortured and provided information that he knew wasn’t accurate or helpful to his captors, would approve of torture now, and neither of them speak very highly of McCain’s character:

  • Cynical political calculation; or

  • An underlying need to take revenge against and inflict severe long-term physical and mental pain on others and see them tortured.

Both of these traits are absolutely unacceptable for a President of the United States to have – whether in the role as Commander in Chief or in the role as diplomatic leader. It shows a total lack of morals, whether the lack of morals is based on compromising himself and cheapening his experiences for political and personal gain, or whether it is based on a sick twisted need to inflict pain on others (something that earned him the “McNasty” name and reputation).

If McCain really wanted to put “country first”, he could have done so by speaking out against torture and coming out against Cheney and Bush and Yoo and Gonzales when it mattered. That speaks to the “cynical political calculation” I note above.

If McCain knows full well that unreliable information is provided while being tortured (which I would assume he does based on his own experience), and STILL wants others to be tortured, then that is far worse – it shows a callous disregard for human life and should serve as a wake up call for anyone that gives any validation at all to his “I was a POW so everything I say or do now should be excused” line.

Either way, two things are true – McCain knows that torture doesn’t work, and he still approves of it.

That is a sign of a serious issue that makes him unfit for the office of the Presidency.

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