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Ear to the Ground

McCain Votes Against Torture Ban

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Posted on Feb 14, 2008
McCain
AP photo / Lauren Victoria Burke

Sen. John McCain has established himself as an outspoken critic of torture, which makes his vote Wednesday against the Feinstein Amendment, which would set limits on the types of interrogation techniques used by American intelligence agencies, all the more puzzling—or, in the case of The Atlantic columnist Andrew Sullivan, heartbreaking.


The Daily Dish:

This is why the focus on waterboarding has been necessary but distracting. It has allowed people to believe that this relatively rare technique is the beginning and end of the Bush-Cheney torture regime. It isn’t. It’s a fraction of the illegal abuse that they have condoned and believe in. I simply cannot see any explanation for this except politics—that McCain feels the need to appease the Republican far right at this point in time, and, tragically, the right to torture has now become a litmus test of “conservative” orthodoxy. It’s a Karl Rove wedge issue of a classic kind: using the crudest of emotional appeals to gin up populist authoritarianism for the sake of Republican partisan advantage in wartime. There is nothing conservative about torture, of course. But the authoritarians of the far right are hardly conservatives in the traditional sense either.

So McCain reveals himself as a positioner even on the subject on which he has gained a reputation for unimpeachable integrity. It’s worth reading Jon Chait’s illuminating new piece in this context. I repeat that I am heartbroken.

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By Pacrat, February 15, 2008 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

McCain (Yes, I am a genuine war hero), but I approved of the torture I received and deserved and so do the people we are detaining without justice of even the most primitive kind. Yes, I volunteer to be waterboarded, stripped, abused, caged again, and forced to go sleepless and all the other fun things I enjoyed as a POW just because I want to be the president of a free country.

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By lawlessone, February 15, 2008 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where does Bush find all the sociopaths to do the torturing; i.e. those who admit they would never want to be subject to “enhanced interrogation” themselves, but seek opportunities to inflict torture others?  Does the scum of the earth simply tend to gravitate toward him like the Nazis did toward Hitler or does he have an in-Human Resources manager who actively recruits them?  Are the Torquemadas he hires formally taught to be that way or are they born depraved?  Are they mostly self described Christians or atheists?  What went wrong in their upbringing and how were they unable to develop or unable to keep a moral code?  Are they sickos who relish the sense of power that bringing pain to others apparently can supply or is it the addictive oxytocins or dorphamines or other brain jollies they get out of it?  Are they paranoid schizophrenias assuming everyone they torture must deserve it?  Are they closet sadists?  Or, are they just utterly delusional, thinking what they are doing is actually somehow saving Civilization?

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By lawlessone, February 15, 2008 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republican election strategy so far this century has primarily been an attempt to frighten us. 

They’ve succeeded with me.  I’m totally frightened they’ll ever gain power again.  I’m terrified about what they lust after, how they’ll grab it and what else they’ll wreck getting it.

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By Thomas Billis, February 15, 2008 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

I was not talking about torture I was talking about forture and old Viet Namese method of Rice deprivation.Torture is fine it is forture I am against.That damned media misquoting me again.My Friends on the straigt talking express the problem is not my message it is the liberal establishment media purposely misstating it.The old Saturday Night skit with Gilda Radner perfectly encapsulizes Mccains stance on torture.Forget about it.

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By jcbrap, February 15, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

The Republican party should simply be renamed the Hypocritic party.  That at least would be truth in labelling. Say one thing, do the exact opposite, that’s their moto.

Lie, cheat, steal, it doesn’t seem to matter to them as long as they get to remain in power. 

It’s the accountability stupid!

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By Jim Yell, February 15, 2008 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For a brief shinning moment, some years ago now, I thought that McCain might be McAble if Hillary should get the candidacy from the Democratic party. Is he suffering from Stockholm disease? He started licking the boots of Bush/Cheney after making a brave start as a conterbalance to Bush/Cheney gangsterism, but he must have developed a taste for boot leather.

Sad———-

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By dammit, February 15, 2008 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

“I was against torture, (when it was me) before I voted for it, (when it could get me nominated).”

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By Johnny Smith, February 15, 2008 at 7:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Also, can’t you just imagine the reaction to the McCain “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” song played on political ads to an American public that overwhelmingly wants us out of Iraq?

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By jatihoon, February 15, 2008 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

John MacCain is confused, as a child he had a problem wetting his bed, hence he is against water bedding, not waterboarding.

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By jatihoon, February 15, 2008 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

He is suffering from OLD-Timer, disease.

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By kath cantarella, February 15, 2008 at 12:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

but he just talks. Tosser.

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By cyrena, February 15, 2008 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

Humm, a couple of thoughts here…

•  “…but Senator McCain voted against it, presumably because he wishes that the CIA be permitted to continue the use of other of its enhanced techniques, apart from waterboarding.”

It’s very possible that there is another issue at hand, besides the wishes of McCain that the CIA be permitted to continue the use of other torture methods. (this ‘enhanced techniques’ is simply Cheney’s lawyer’s language). I agree that it is definitely POLITICS, but I suspect the reason is far more frightening to Cheney’s cabal, as well as his secret police (the CIA). In reality, ALL of these people will be (and of course they SHOULD BE) held accountable in a criminal court of law, FOR HAVING ALREADY COMMITTED THESE ILLEGALITIES.

In my own opinion, that’s why they (mostly Cheney) have argued so fiercely against ANY legislation that would limit the use of any of these techniques. Remember the last anti-torture bill that McCain himself initiated. (I think it was the Detainee Act or something close). It had most of these same elements, and it was no different than other legislation, which basically only PROHIBITS what is ALREADY prohibited by International and domestic law.

However, just like the spying that they did first, and then tried to make ‘legal’ after the fact,  (and they have) any ‘anti-torture’ legislation now, that specifically names waterboarding, (as well as these other things that have always been illegal) will make them accountable by domestic law. And, while it’s unlikely that would happen while they are still in office, and still exercising this absolute power of exception, and power to ignore the laws, that won’t necessarily carry them through, after they leave.

So, any legislation that makes this illegal, also makes them criminally accountable for having ALREADY engaged in this activity, and that includes the entire chain of command, from the ones who ordered it, to the ones who carried it out.

And what does that do to their cases against the alleged 9/11 perpetrators, when the ONLY corroboration to the official 9/11 tale, was obtained under these illegal methods of torture? Even in the kangaroo court system they have cooked up for them, this is simply not admissible evidence. It shouldn’t be anyway, but this is ‘evidence’ obtained in the commission of a crime, (torture/waterboarding) and in addition to the fact that we KNOW torture not only DOESN’T work in obtaining reliable information, it’s also criminal. So, how does one judge that information, even in a kangaroo court, with the eyes of the world upon you?

•  “I simply cannot see any explanation for this except politics - that McCain feels the need to appease the Republican far right at this point in time, and, tragically, the right to torture has now become a litmus test of “conservative” orthodoxy.”

Well yeah, this is part of it as well. Still, this legislation would open the door for legal criminal proceedings (on the domestic front) against all who have so far engaged in these illegal actions. If McCain hadn’t considered that little detail before, there’s no doubt he’s been ‘reminded’ by his party leaders.

As a reminder, one of the MAIN ‘advisors’ to the Hillary Campaign is Alan Dershowitz, and he has vehemently crusaded to make these tactics of torture LEGAL. So, Hillary would be inclined to vote against it as well, if it didn’t make her ‘look bad’ in the eyes of those paying attention. AND, she’s not shown any indication that any of the current criminals should be held accountable if she were elected… for ANY of their crimes.  Because… she WOULDN’T! (hold them accountable).

All of that said, it’s political, but more than political. It’s also about accountability to the rule of law, and these people have already engaged in so much criminal behavior, that unless they’ve got their bags packed and ready for the ultimate escape, their done for, if this legislation were to pass.

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By RAE, February 14, 2008 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment

A vote for McCain is a vote for same-old, same-old politics… lies, more lies and lies to cover up the lies… and pretend it’s all truth!

I agree with Maani… just keep it up, John. You’re doing more to get Obama elected President than Obama is!

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By Maani, February 14, 2008 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Right on, John!  Keep piling up the fodder for the Democratic cannons.  Staying in Iraq for “100 years” despite the fact that 70% of America wants out NOW, despite the surge; making the Bush tax cuts permanent; bringing back Reaganomics; voting against the POW bill; voting against the torture bill.

You’re doing a great job of winning this election for us.  So, keep up the good work!

Peace.

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