In an op-ed for the Washington Post yesterday, Sen. John McCain called Osama bin Laden’s death “welcome,” yet he once again took a definitive stance against enhanced interrogation techniques. He wrote:
Much of this debate is a definitional one: whether any or all of these methods constitute torture. I believe some of them do, especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution and thus an exquisite form of torture. As such, they are prohibited by American laws and values, and I oppose them.
Despite his opposition to waterboarding and the like, McCain used the platform to reiterate his belief that no one should be “…prosecuted for having used [enhanced] techniques.” He made it clear that he believes the Obama administration should pledge not to charge anyone involved.
Earlier today, McCain appeared on the Senate floor to further discuss these issues (watch the video above). Again, he tackled the moral conundrum that he believes waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques pose, while delving into the accuracy of the information yielded through these mechanisms:
“I sincerely believe that torture…is…unworthy and injurious to our country. I believe the abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war efforts…In my experience, the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence; it often produces bad intelligence…a person will say anything his captors hear…if he believes it will alleviate his suffering.”
McCain claims that these harsh methods did not lead the United States to bin Laden and that the information he’s received from CIA Director Leon Panetta directly contradicts claims that the U.S. benefited from enhanced techniques. However, last week, Panetta seemed to indicate that these methods did play at least some role in the information gathering that led to bin Laden.
Others, including potential presidential candidate Donald Trump and former vice-president Dick Cheney, have credited these controversial techniques for their role in capturing and killing bin Laden.