I have been very critical of Sen. John McCain in the past (see, for example, Why John McCain Does Not Deserve to be President. Ever.), so it’s only right that I should note McCain’s (belated) very good deeds on the torture front. Sen. McCain not only sponsored and got overwhelming Senate support for an amendment to ban torture by the United States, but he is also holding fast against numerous administration end-runs to try to water down his amendment in the secretive conference committee [a conference committee reconciles differences between the House and Senate versions of a bill, prior to presenting the revised version to both houses for re-passage]. The administration, headed by VP Cheney, wants the bill changed so that it only applies to the military; the result would be to allow (or, perhaps, to continue to allow) the CIA to torture people; McCain is pushing back. (See, e.g. Truth About Torture).
It remains unclear what will emerge from the conference. A majority of the House and a large majority of the Senate support McCain’s amendment, but the conferees are stacked with people who are keen to support the administration’s position. We’ll see if they dare. The insiders I hear from are sounding very pessimistic.