Bush, McCain, Torture

Is it not a rather fantastic historical irony that the torture techniques that the North Vietnamese used against McCain that forced him to offer a videotaped false confession ... are now the techniques the Bush administration is using to gain "intelligence" about terror networks.

How is it possible to know that everything John McCain once said on videotape for the enemy was false, because it was coerced, and yet assert that everything we torture out of terror suspects using exactly the same techniques, is true? In fact, McCain at least knew somewhere that his own government knew he existed, that there were procedures to eventually release him, that he was on someone's radar. The average prisoner at Gitmo or in the other parts of the detention program believes that no one will ever save him, that he could be disappeared for ever, that there are no procedures for his eventual release and no government to remember him. If McCain uttered lies on tape to stop the torture, why would an Islamist tell the truth?

Nothing more accurately exposes the classic moral error of the Bush administration and its enablers in war crimes. If the enemy tortures, it defines their moral evil and all intelligence gleaned from such coercion is self-evidently false propaganda. If we do it, it isn't wrong, and it leads to good intelligence.

Got that? And these people have the gall to describe their ideological opponents as moral relativists.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis. The only problem? He has to prove it works.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

Just In