The Spectacle Blog

McCain on Imus on Torture

By on 12.7.05 | 8:57AM

So let's get this straight -- McCain said that no good information comes from torture because they (the torturees) will "say what they thnk you want to hear to stop the pain." Imus asked about the exception for an impending nuke. McCain, seeking to be reasonable, agreed that in that "one in a million" situation, "go ahead and do it. It's justifiable." Why would torture work in that situation and not others?

First of all, I'd like someone to cite any examples of torture committed by U.S. military personnel that have gone unpunished. Second, absent any proof to the contrary, I'd like Senator McCain and others like him to stop saying, as he did on Imus this morning, that "this torture has to stop." By saying "it" has to stop, he is saying that "it" is going on and accusing our troops of breaking the law. Third, will Senator McCain take his "exception" to the rule to its logical conclusion?

It's okay to torture when it may help save the lives of a million innocent people. How about half a million? Or 250,000? Or 10,000? Or 100? Or 10? (Am I sounding like Father Abraham?)

How about saving a platoon of U.S. Army Infantrymen from an ambush?

Is holding a gun to a terrorist's head and threatening to pull the trigger, torture? If not, why did the Army fire a LTC for doing just that in order to save his men from an ambush?

What would Senator McCain tell the mother of a single soldier who was killed by terrorists in an ambush if that mother found out that we had in custody another terrorist who knew the time and location of the attack but we didn't hang him by his fingernails over a vat of boiling pig fat to save her son?

I'm not defending torture. I actually agree with Senator McCain that it rarely yields reliable intelligence. However, I'd like a better definition of torture. And if it is not too much to ask, perhaps the politicians could give our armed service members the benefit of the doubt instead of accusing them of torturing captive terrorists as SOP.

Moreover, let's give the U.S. military extra credit for actually going out of their way -- too often at the cost of their own lives and limbs -- to minimize civilian casualties or even roil local sensibilities. Our guys wear the white hats, no matter what John Kerry says.

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