The Old McCain Returns?


He has clearly realized that becoming an older, smarter version of Bush is not going to win over any of the independents who once loved him. And so he is again saying what he believes. From Fox News Sunday today:

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.

He does. McCain endured torture in Vietnam. Andy McCarthy didn't. McCain knows that the hideous euphemisms deployed by the Bush torture-regime are merely Orwellian words for torture - ask McCain about "stress positions," techniques the hard right dismisses as torture but which were used against McCain by the Vietcong. Or extreme temperatures, as Chris Wallace sickeningly euphemizes, which were used by Stalin in the Gulag. It's called hypothermia or massive dehydration, Chris. Ask Pol Pot. If McCain finds his moral voice again and runs as a Republican dedicated to restoring America's honor, after the shame and war crimes of the current cabal, he will be a far stronger candidate, especially among the decent middle. This next election will be about the moral character of America - and whether we are going to restore it from the dark, evil stain of these past few years. McCain's voice is desperately needed. It is so good to hear it return.

(Photo: Republican presidential hopeful John McCain greets supporters after a rally April 26, 2007 in Greenville, South Carolina. The senator from Arizona, who made official yesterday his entry into the 2008 presidential race, continues a four-day campaign tour with stops in South Carolina, Iowa, Nevada and Arizona. By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)