Category Archives: Waterboarding

Lessons from Vietnam

mccain likes to say that his experience in vietnam gives him an insight into war that few can rival.

but what exactly were these lessons?

1) did he learn about the hazards of rushing to war? did he learn to question our leaders before the war began?

2) did he learn how difficult, no, how impossible, it is to fight an insurgency? how do you fight a guerrilla movement that blends into the civilian population? what do you do when the people oppose your long term presence in their nation? did mccain learn anything about  that?

3) did he learn how much wars cost in terms of lives and money? why did he think this war would pay for itself?

and finally,

4) did he learn the difference between avoidable and unavoidable wars? does he understand that when a nation is attacked you fight the people who attacked them and you continue fighting them until you win?

what lessons did john mccain learn from vietnam?

i can give him one: he learned that torture is evil.

that’s significant, and appreciated – even though, as i noted before, he’s unsure if water boarding constitutes torture– it’s still nice to see a republican who “gets” torture.

but obama “got” that torture was evil too.

so what does mccain’s vietnam experience bring to the table?

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Filed under Iraq, Torture, Waterboarding

Waffling on Waterboarding

in a republican presidential debate on Nov. 28 mccain said:

I would hope that we would understand, my friends, that life is not 24 and Jack Bauer. Life is interrogation techniques which are humane and yet effective. And I just came back from visiting a prison in Iraq. The army general there said that techniques under the Army Field Manual are working and working effectively, and he didn’t think they need to do
anything else.
My friends, this is what America is all about.

also:

“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak,” said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here.
“People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that.

but when the time came to put an end to this horrible practice, john mccain voted against banning water torture.

this was mccain’s excuse after the vote:

“I knew I would be criticized for it,” McCain told reporters Wednesday in Ohio. “I think I can show my record is clear. I said there should be additional techniques allowed to other agencies of government as long as they were not” torture.

compare that once again to his statement before the vote:

“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak,” said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here.
“People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that.

after the vote:

“I was on the record as saying that they could use additional techniques as long as they were not cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment,” McCain said. “So the vote was in keeping with my clear record of saying that they could have additional techniques, but those techniques could not violate” international rules against torture.
before the vote:

before:

“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak,” said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here.
“People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that.

if mccain had a problem with the specifics of the bill, he should’ve introduced his own version or his own amendments.

he didn’t do that.

instead, he went against his word and his supposed beliefs (yet again) in order to accomodate the far right wing of his party, which has been clamoring for water torture.

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Filed under Flip Flopping, Torture, Waterboarding