I strongly agree with John McCain on this one:
For my part, I would oppose any legislation, if any should be proposed, that is intended to authorize the administration to return to the use of waterboarding or other methods of interrogation that I sincerely believe are torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading, and as such unworthy and injurious to our country…I believe the abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war effort. In my personal experience, the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence, but often produces bad intelligence. Because under torture, a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear, whether it is true or false, if he thinks it will relieve his suffering. Often information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading. And what the advocates of cruel and harsh interrogation techniques can never prove is that we could not have gathered the same intelligence through other, more humane means.
Furthermore, I think it is sincerely unfair to the men and women in our intelligence community and military who labored for a decade to locate Osama bin Laden to claim falsely that they only succeeded because we used torture to extract actionable intelligence from a few detainees several years ago… Ultimately, this debate is about far more than technical or practical issues. It’s about far more than whether torture works or does not work. It’s about far more than utilitarian matters. Ultimately, this is about morality. What is at stake here is the very idea of America, the America whose values have inspired the world, and instilled in the hearts of its citizens the certainty that, no matter how hard we fight, no matter how dangerous our adversary, in the course of vanquishing our enemies, we do not compromise our deepest values.
Brilliant, I can’t imagine anyone expressing this more powerfully or more eloquently. I also can’t imagine anyone more qualified to speak on this subject, based on his personal experience under torture. The question is, what about other tough guy Republicans, Dick Cheney and all the rest, who actually advocate that the United States of America torture people? How on earth can any of these people be seriously considered for public office, or even be considered patriotic Americans, if they believe that? This isn’t a side issue, this is utterly fundamental to what it means to be an American. If you don’t get this, you simply don’t understand what America is all about. Period.