In the wake of Yet Another Torture Allegation (YATA), this time that soldiers in the 82nd Airborne were torturing Iraqis for the fun of it (and — more seriously — that senior officers refused to investigate when put on notice by a junior officer) Senator John McCain, himself a victim of vicious torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese, a conservative Republican Senator with unique moral authority to speak out against this evil, and a man who so far has said remarkably little on the subject, speaks.
And pretty much all he can bring himself to say is Prisoner Abuse Hurts U.S. Image:
Sen. John McCain said Sunday that abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers, alleged anew in a report and under investigation again by the Army, is hurting the nation’s image abroad.
OK, yes, he also said,
“We’ve got to make it clear to the world that American doesn’t do it. It’s not about prisoners. It’s about us,” he said.
…but if the AP is to be trusted, that’s in the context of our image, not any moral imperative.
McCain is a co-author of a bill that seeks to put greater limits on torture by our armed forces, but carefully avoids making the prohibition apply to the CIA’s world-wide torture centers, and also fails to address the CIA’s organized complicity with foreign torturers.
McCain’s near-silence on this issue is highly likely to be related to his Presidential ambitions in 2008 — ambitions that would be severely damaged by seeming to undercut a GOP president on a military issue, not to mention any hint of being “soft on terror”.
It is hard to accuse a man who obviously displayed great physical and moral courage as a young man of being a moral coward now that he’s considerably older. But there it is.
This man does not deserve to be President.
Neither, of course, does the current occupant of the White House. That man is not only presiding over this moral atrocity, but also over the conversion of the doctrine of military command responsibility into a doctrine of corporate responsibility diffusion in which executives seek personal deniability while assuring themselves that no one is to blame.