McCain Flip Flops on Torture

10 03 2008

Before an audience in New Hampshire at the Republican Presidential debates John McCain minced no words on his opposition to torture.

During a the Republican presidential debate back in September, John McCain, now the presumptive Republican nominee said:

MR. GOLER: Senator McCain, what do you think about what Congressman Tancredo just said? And more broadly, do you feel President Bush may have overreached his constitutional authority in some actions after the 9/11 attacks, sir?

SEN. MCCAIN: I have a very dear and beloved friend whose name is General Jack Vessey, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Reagan. He served in four wars, and he’s one of the great leaders I’ve ever known.

I called him, and I said, “General Vessey, do you think we ought to ever torture anybody?”

General Vessey said any information that we may gain through the use of torture can never, ever be counterbalanced by the damage it does to America’s reputation and the risk — (cheers, applause) — and the risk that when an American is in the hands of an enemy, that they will use the fact that we tortured people as an excuse to torture our brave men and women in the military.

I’m not prepared to expose them to that.

But now he supports President Bush’s veto of the Intelligence Authorization bill, which contains an amendment explicitly banning the use of torture. He recently told reporters:

“I said there should be additional techniques allowed to other agencies of government as long as they were not” torture. “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.

I guess the straight talk express is just….talk.

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