This Week: McCain Is Scathing In Torture Report, But Not So Much On Camera

[media id=6963] (h/t Silent Patriot) Oh, it's so nice to see some of the straight-talkin', ready-to-lead, he-gets-it-because-he-was-a-POW stylings of

(h/t Silent Patriot)

Oh, it's so nice to see some of the straight-talkin', ready-to-lead, he-gets-it-because-he-was-a-POW stylings of former presidential candidate John McCain, isn't it? The strongest assessment and responsibility assigned for the Torture Presidency was co-authored by Our Man McCain, dismissing completely the White House alibi that Abu Ghraib atrocities were committed by a few "bad apples".

The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.[..]

The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.

You read that right. John McCain and Carl Levin said in no uncertain terms that the policy to torture prisoners was conceived in the highest offices of the administration and have hurt this country both in intelligence gathering, but also more critically, national security.

But hold those public servants accountable? Hey now, that's asking too much of ol' Johnnie.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some look at that and say, because of that, there should be a special prosecutor looking into all the crimes that were committed, and no one should be exempted from that.

MCCAIN: Well, look, that's not my job. If overwhelming evidence indicates that, that's fine. But the point is, I thought, and Senator Levin did, that we should carry out our responsibilities in the Senate Armed Services Committee and do a thorough and complete investigation. I'm not that interested in looking back. What I am interested in and committed to is making sure we don't do it again.

"It's not my job"?!?!?!?! Who the hell's job is it, then? C'mon, McCain. You KNOW they've broken the law. You KNOW they've hurt our national security. You KNOW that our reputation on the world stage is horribly damaged. But you're not interested in "looking back"? How about being interested in doing your damn job, Senator, and exercise some oversight? History isn't going to look poorly on the presidency alone, you cowardly putz, if you REPORTED torture and did nothing about it.

Transcripts below the fold

STEPHANOPOULOS: You and the president-elect also Guantanamo, closing down Guantanamo.

MCCAIN: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you signed on to a very harsh report, out of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this week, on the torture of detainees across the military prison system. And you said this wasn't just the work of a few bad apples. In fact, you laid direct responsibility of Secretary of Defense -- former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Listen to this: "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there. It conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely." His spokesman called these allegations "unfounded." How do you respond to that, first of all?

And, number two, how should the Secretary of Defense be held accountable for this?

MCCAIN: I don't know. I think history, obviously, will render very harsh judgment about this whole detainee treatment situation, whether additional action is called for. I think, as a member of the -- ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, that we've done our job.

Let me just tell you a brief story. Not that long ago, a year and a half ago, Senator Lindsey Graham and I were in Iraq. We were in the prison. The general, our U.S. general in charge of prison had us in a secluded area and met a former high-ranking member of Al Qaida, one of the toughest guys I've ever seen. I said, how did you succeed so well after the initial American victory?

He said, "Two things" -- he said, "One" -- he said, "there was no control by your troops. It was total lawlessness. There was rape, looting, pillage, murder, settling of old scores. So there was

lawlessness. Second, the greatest recruiting tool we had -- we were able to recruit thousands of young men," he said, "was Abu Ghraib." So you can't underestimate the damage that our treatment of prisoners, both at Abu Ghraib and other...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But some look at that and say...

MCCAIN: ... harmed our national security interests.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some look at that and say, because of that, there should be a special prosecutor looking into all the crimes that were committed, and no one should be exempted from that.

MCCAIN: Well, look, that's not my job. If overwhelming evidence indicates that, that's fine. But the point is, I thought, and Senator Levin did, that we should carry out our responsibilities

in the Senate Armed Services Committee and do a thorough and complete investigation. I'm not that interested in looking back. What I am interested in and committed to is making sure we don't do it again.

We're in this long twilight struggle here, and so America's prestige and image, as we all know, was damaged by these stories of mistreatment. And we've got to make sure the world knows that that's not the United States of America that they knew and appreciated for centuries.

About Nicole Belle

Nicole Belle's picture
Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.