Turley: 'Torture Isn't A War Crime Because It's Never Beneficial. It's A War Crime Because It's Immoral'


While I commend Sen. John McCain for speaking out on the Senate floor this week condemning those who have come out since the death of Osama bin Laden defending the use of waterboarding -- or as they want to call it, "enhanced interrogation" -- and claiming that the torture somehow worked to gain intelligence, McCain is still on the wrong side of the issue with saying he doesn't believe anyone should be prosecuted. Jonathan Turley rightfully pointed that out to Ed Schultz tonight.

He also expressed his disdain for the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder's decision not to investigate and hold members of the Bush administration accountable for war crimes, which I share.

TURLEY: One of the most powerful things about McCain's speech is the truism that lies beneath it where he says, you know, being tortured is simply immoral. You know, I think much of the world is shocked by the debate that we're having. This whole question of did it yield usable intelligence has long been rejected by the world and by the United States and its treaties as a viable argument for torture. Torture isn't a war crime because it's never beneficial. It's a war crime because it's immoral, because it is a war crime.

And you can imagine how we look to the world in this debate when we have all of these officials who not only say that they ordered torture, but are trying to sell the American people on how good torture really is.

I also always cynically wonder about John McCain's political motivations any time he looks like he's doing the right thing. While I have no doubt that his personal experience with being tortured as a prisoner of war has as much to do with him speaking out as anything, he also still really doesn't have any use for any of the Bushies or George W. Bush after what they did to him when he ran against Bush for president and Karl Rove ran that whisper campaign against him in South Carolina. McCain always seems to have a penchant for doing the right thing if it means getting some digs in on his political enemies and ignoring wrong doings when it's politically convenient as well.

TPM has more on his Senate speech here: McCain Denounces Torture: 'The Very Idea Of America' Is At Stake (VIDEO):

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took to the Senate floor Thursday to condemn waterboarding and other torture techniques, saying that the debate over these techniques is ultimately "about morality. What is at stake here it the very idea of America." [...]

In the time since Osama bin Laden was killed, a number of conservatives have sought to give credit for his death to George W. Bush, specifically for his decision to torture prisoners for information that they say ultimately led to bin Laden. McCain, who was tortured when he was a POW during the Vietnam War, has long been opposed to the interrogation methods implemented during the Bush Administration. [...]

He continued that he would oppose any legislation that would authorize a return to waterboarding or any other methods of interrogation that he believes "are torture, or cruel, inhuman, and degrading, and as such unworthy and injurious to our country."

McCain did offer some praise for those who implemented the techniques, saying that he understands why they were approved, "and I know that those who approved them, and those who employed them in the interrogation of captured terrorists were admirably dedicated to protecting the American people from harm." He also added that he doesn't believe anyone should be prosecuted for having used torture in the past.

McCain expressed similar sentiments in his op-ed at The Washington Post here -- Bin Laden’s death and the debate over torture.

And here's more from Turley's blog from guest writer Lawrence Rafferty -- Torture is still Torture, and it is Still Illegal.

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