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Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Monday, April 30, 2007

McCain Flip-Flop!? Nooo! It Couldn't Be!

So a year ago McCain supported Bush on the torture bill. The Boston Globe explained it this way:
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, filed an amendment to a Defense Department bill explicitly saying that that the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees in US custody is illegal regardless of where they are held.

The White House tried hard to kill the McCain amendment. Cheney lobbied Congress to exempt the CIA from any interrogation limits, and Bush threatened to veto the bill, arguing that the executive branch has exclusive authority over war policy.

But after veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress approved it, Bush called a press conference with McCain, praised the measure, and said he would accept it.

''The whole point of the McCain Amendment was to close every loophole," said Marty Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor who served in the Justice Department from 1997 to 2002. ''The president has re-opened the loophole by asserting the constitutional authority to act in violation of the statute where it would assist in the war on terrorism."

And McCain stood there smiling as Bush took us down the torture path and didn't say anything. I can never forgive him for turning his back on what I would have thought was a core value and supporting torture.

But NOW McCain on Fox News claims he's always been against torture:
J. MCCAIN: A man I admire more than anyone else, General Jack Vessey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, battlefield commission, told me once — he said, "John, any intelligence information we might gain through the use of torture could never, ever counterbalance the image that it does — the damage that it does to our image in the world."

I agree with him. Look at the war in Algeria. Look, the fact is if you torture someone, they're going to tell you anything they think you want to know. It is an affront to everything we stand for and believe in.

It's interesting to me that every retired military officer, whether it be Colin Powell or whether it be former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — everybody who's been in war doesn't want to torture people and think that it's the wrong thing to do. And history shows that.

We cannot torture people and maintain our moral superiority in the world.

WALLACE: But when...

J. MCCAIN: And that's a fact.

WALLACE: But when George Tenet says...

J. MCCAIN: I don't care what George Tenet says. I know what's right. I know what's morally right as far as America's behavior.

So, Johnny, where were you when you might have made a difference a year ago? He could have been a leader and stopped Bush and his signing statements. He would have been a hero to both the right and the left but he swallowed his convictions, covered his eyes, and started shouting NAAA, NAAA, NAAA I CAN'T HEAR YOU! He lost a golden opportunity but decided to kiss the butt of Bush instead. I'll NEVER have any respect for him again. Straight talk express bull shit! These people make me vomit!

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