Was McCain Tortured?

I don’t ask it as a factual question- because there is no doubt that he indeed was- but a definitional one. Andrew Sullivan asks precisely that question in a post on his Atlantic blog.

In all the discussion of John McCain’s recently recovered memory of a religious epiphany in Vietnam, one thing has been missing. The torture that was deployed against McCain emerges in all the various accounts. It involved sleep deprivation, the withholding of medical treatment, stress positions, long-time standing, and beating. Sound familiar?

According to the Bush administration’s definition of torture, McCain was therefore not tortured.

No war crimes were committed against McCain. And the techniques used are, according to the president, tools to extract accurate information. And so the false confessions that McCain was forced to make were, according to the logic of the Bush administration, as accurate as the “intelligence” we have procured from “interrogating” terror suspects. Feel safer?

The full post is here and it concerned more with criticizing the Bush administration’s despicable definitions of torture than with McCain- but it does give mention to McCain’s support of the very methods used against himself in Vietnam.

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