McCain Votes Against Banning Waterboarding

Maverick Fails The Test: McCain Votes Against Waterboarding Ban.

He was against torture before he voted for it.

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6 Responses to McCain Votes Against Banning Waterboarding

  1. Thomas says:

    Wait…is it the Democratic view that waterboarding is now legal?

  2. michael says:

    I think you should adjust your meds: all but one, I think, of the Democrats voted to ban CIA torture yesterday. McCain voted to allow it.

    Waterboarding violates US law and international law, but the CIA operates abroad, on foreigners, and the Bush administration told them that either it wasn’t torture, or the circumstances made it OK. Congress was trying to re-emphasize that this loophole does not exist. McCain gave a statement saying he didn’t want to tie the CIA’s hands. More at When push comes to shove, McCain was against torture before he was for it.

  3. Anderson says:

    McCain apparently acted to preserve the CIA’s power to use less notorious tortures, such as forced standing and sleep deprivation.

    The Soviets were masters of both. Robert Conquest quoted a survivor of KGB “enhanced interrogation” who said that forced standing was unbearably excruciating — we are of course talking about 12, 24, 36, 48 hours of standing in the same posture.

    Sleep deprivation was used for various defendants in show trials — keep someone awake for 48 hours or more, and he or she will sign anything, say anything, to be allowed to sleep.

    Good enough for the Evil Empire? Then it’s good enough for John McCain.

  4. baowms says:

    Did anyone see the article in the Washington Post written by a former Russian describing from his own experience how the supposedly “less severe” tactics like forced feeding, sitting/standing for hours, sleep deprivation, pretending that family members are being tortured, actually work. I thought it was the best debunking of the “frat pranks” “hey, I stand up for hours too!” line of minimization I ever saw. I have tried to searching for it, haven’t been able to find it again.

  5. Thomas says:

    michael, this is typically sloppy thinking.

    you say that waterboarding has always been illegal. further, you must concede that US law has become more restrictive since the DoJ permitted waterboarding. mccain led the charge for the previous changes in the law.

    that’s the state of the law, pre-amendment. so why do you get to say that declining to further restrict interrogation activities is equivalent to “voting against banning” waterboarding? I mean, it’s illegal twice, in your view. so how can someone vote against banning it at this point? declining to reemphasize current law isn’t in any way equivalent to the accusation you make.

  6. michael says:

    I am sure I am frequently guilty of slopping thinking, but somewhat doubtful that this is one of the cases.

    Waterboarding was at all relevant times illegal under general bans on torture in both US law and international law. Nevertheless the Bush/Gonzales administration took the view that it was in fact legal and issued various opinions so stating. The Congress responded by explicitly banning it — but in a way that did not reach the CIA’s conduct abroad. McCain voted for that law — and also was instrumental in accepting the wording that kept it from reaching the CIA issue.

    In my opinion, it was already illegal for the CIA to do those things abroad, but the administration took a different view. The old bill failed to address that question. The matter has yet to be aired in court. Hence the motive for the current legislation.

    The bill at issue closed that loophole. It also banned other forms of torture and near-torture by the CIA abroad. McCain says he’s for those, so he voted against closing the loophole. I say that is hypocritical: torture is torture whoever does it and wherever they do it.

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