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.

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig