Debate Fact Check 4

McCain said in the debate:

‘ So we have a long way to go in our intelligence services. We have to do a better job in human intelligence. And we’ve got to — to make sure that we have people who are trained interrogators so that we don’t ever torture a prisoner ever again.’

Last winter, McCain voted against a bill that would have disallowed waterboarding by the CIA.

US Intelligence Chief Mike McConnell has essentially admitted that waterboarding is torture.

The bill McCain rejected would have constrained CIA operatives from violating the interrogation techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual, a public document.

McCain wanted the CIA to continue to be able to deploy secretive interrogation techniques not mentioned in the Army manual. Of course, we don’t know what those are or whether they meet the definition of torture. In any case, McCain had a chance to force Bush to stop waterboarding and he declined to take it.

McCain continues to say he is against waterboarding, which makes his vote hard to understand.

Here is McCain on Bill O’Reilly last May:


(Begin videotaped interview.)

MR. O’REILLY: Let’s take war on terror first. You’re opposed to waterboarding.


MR. O’REILLY: And I disagree with you on that. I think the president of the United States, just the president, should have the legal authority to order waterboarding in extraordinary circumstances. Now, according to Tenet and to President Bush, used three times on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah. All three times, the men broke when they were waterboarded, and they gave out information, according to the Bush administration, that saved thousands of lives.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, first of all, the scenario you’re talking about is one million to one. Second of all, well, you know that when torture anybody, we know, that they’ll give you things only that that they want you to —

MR. O’REILLY: These people gave up very good information.

SEN. MCCAIN: They gave up very bad information, too, according to some sources. But the point is, do you want to abrogate the Geneva Conventions? In the next war that we’re in, if you want an American tortured, a service man or woman, by some foreign country when we’re in another war and because we did it to the people in our captivity —

MR. O’REILLY: (Inaudible) — not soldiers, though. They’re not entitled to Geneva Conventions.

SEN. MCCAIN: Yes, they are.

MR. O’REILLY: No, not a one.

SEN. MCCAIN: The Geneva Conventions apply — oh, in all due respect, I’ll send you the information. Geneva applies to every person who is held in captivity by another country.

MR. O’REILLY: Even criminals?

SEN. MCCAIN: Even criminals if they are in combat. Now, there’s a difference between uniformed combatant and non-uniformed combatant.

MR. O’REILLY: Do you think 9/11, they were combatant soldiers, though?

SEN. MCCAIN: I think we’re in a war against radical Islamic extremism, and I think that war is all over the globe. And I believe, as Colin Powell does and these military officers who have spent an entire career, that the Geneva Conventions call for a prohibition —

MR. O’REILLY: They apply to everybody.

SEN. MCCAIN: — a prohibition for inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment. And their concern is what happens to Americans in future wars if they are held captive.

MR. O’REILLY: Now, we’re not fighting a nation now.

SEN. MCCAIN: We are fighting a conflict. And the Geneva Conventions have clear applications.

MR. O’REILLY: We’ll have a gentleman’s disagreement on that one. Dick Morris wants me to ask you this question.’

(Uh, O’Reilly cannot have a gentleman’s agreement with anyone; he is not a gentleman. Even if it weren’t for the Great Loofah Scandal, he obviously supports torture.)

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