Matt Steinglass evaluates McCain's position:
It has a certain consistency. One could of course point out the differences. McCain never had the capacity to punish those who tortured him; Vietnam wasn’t going to prosecute them. We could, however, punish the architects of American torture.
Then, it’s one thing for McCain, the victim of torture, to decide that the pursuit of justice is less important than “moving on”; but we were not the victims of the torture meted out by the CIA, and no one seems to be asking Jose Padilla how he feels about whether those who tortured him should be impeached, tried on criminal charges, etc. Binyam Mohamed, the British resident who was tortured by the CIA at a black site in Afghanistan, appears not to be in a forgiving mood.
Finally, one might point out that the fact that Vietnamese torturers were never punished is related to the fact that, according to US State Department human rights reports, beatings and extrajudicial force are still widely applied in Vietnam’s penal system.