POLITICS
05/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated 4 days ago

McCain On Mohammed Waterboarding: 'It's Unacceptable...It's Unacceptable' (VIDEO)

Via ThinkProgress comes this video of John McCain on Fox News discussing the release of the torture memos. McCain makes it clear that he is not in favor of these memos having been released, telling Fox, "The release of these memos helps no one, doesn't help America's image, does not help us address the issue."

Note the contention he does NOT make, however. At no time does McCain suggest that the memos have tipped off the enemy, or any such nonsense. McCain's batting down a critical meme, here, continually pointing out that al Qaeda is cognizant of the torture practices and specifically exploiting them for their own ends. So while McCain can be frustrating in terms of prescribing a policy solution to end the practice of torture in a way that eliminates loopholes, he nevertheless remains one of the better advocates against the practice of torture itself.

Reacting to the news that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, McCain responds thusly:

It's unacceptable. It's unacceptable. One is too much. Waterboarding is torture, period. I can ensure you that once enough physical pain is inflicted on someone, they will tell that interrogator whatever they think they want to hear. And most importantly, it serves as a great propaganda tool for those who recruit people to fight against us. And I've seen concrete examples of that talking to former high-ranking al-Qaeda individuals in Iraq.

Asked to respond to reports from pro-torture officials who claim the practice yielded good intelligence, McCain didn't budge:

According to the FBI, they did not. According to the CIA, they did. With all due respect, my view is, whether they did or not, the image of the United States of America throughout the world is a recruiting tool for Islamic extremists. And I got that from a former high-ranking al Qaeda in Iraq.

[WATCH.]

MORE:
McCain Reacts To KSM Being Waterboarded 183 Times: 'One Is Too Much. Waterboarding Is Torture' [Think Progress]

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