Shea Says "McCain Wimps Out" ... [UPDATED]
... by voting against a bill banning the use of torture by the CIA.
Yeah, because that's the MOST likely explanation for McCain's vote.
After all, John McCain has shown himself to be such a "wimp" throughout his career when it comes to voting for a bill with which others in his party disagree. Because John McCain has shown himself to be such a "wimp" on the issue of torture in the face of an electoral onslaught of GOP candidates favoring waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" during the primaries.
Anyone who's spent 5 seconds here knows that I'm no John McCain fan. And I'm not sure I can even vote for him in good conscience given his position on ESCR (as I've stated before, in the Ohio primary, I'll either vote for Huckabee or Paul).
But McCain has made perfectly clear his opposition to torture, and at potential great political cost to himself. Throughout the primary season when his position could have cost him the support of voters, he stood against torture while many of the other GOP candidates were trying to out-Jack-Bauer one another. He pushed for and won a torture ban that forbade U.S. Military personnel from conducting such activity. And he fought against Administation attempts to create CIA exceptions to that ban. I think he's earned the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Something else must've been going on with this bill to cause McCain to vote against it. It's certainly not because the "Maverick" has suddenly "wimped out".
I suppose there's the risk that the Democrats will use this vote to try to show McCain as being "against torture before he was for it". I DARE them to try that. I can hear McCain's response now:
You listen to me. When people like you were safe here at home calling people like me "baby killer", I was experiencing first-hand what torture is. [Goes into litany of some of the techniques used against him] So, I am well aware - certainly moreso than you - of the assault on human dignity that torture represents. For that reason, my record throughout my career is second-to-none in championing the cause of human freedom and human dignity. I have sponsored and won passage of a bill to ban torture by our overseas personnel when doing so was very unpopular among many in my party. I have stood toe-to-toe against the present Administration in fighting against a CIA exception to that torture ban. I have staked my very political career on opposing policies that violate our Nation's deepest values.
I'll tell you what, my friend, when you've suffered through 1/100th of what I've been through, THEN come preaching to me with all your preening sanctimony about how I was AGAINST torture before I was FOR it!
Now Mark accuses McCain of "doubletalk" for this statement of why he opposed this particular bill:
The conference report would go beyond any of the recent laws that I just mentioned – laws that were extensively debated and considered – by bringing the CIA under the Army Field Manual, extinguishing thereby the ability of that agency to employ any interrogation technique beyond those publicly listed and formulated for military use. I cannot support such a step because I have not been convinced that the Congress erred by deliberately excluding the CIA. I believe that our energies are better directed at ensuring that all techniques, whether used by the military or the CIA, are in full compliance with our international obligations and in accordance with our deepest values. What we need is not to tie the CIA to the Army Field Manual, but rather to have a good faith interpretation of the statutes that guide what is permissible in the CIA program.(emphasis added)
One commenter at Mark's blog - again, someone who is NOT a fan of McCain - seeks to set Mark straight:
It's very clear that McCain doesn't want the CIA committing war crimes or torturing people. He comes right out and says this in the quote.With the number of people over at Mark's blog beginning their defense of McCain's record on torture with the disclaimer "I don't like McCain", it appears Mark's unfair criticism may succeed in doing what nothing else has: rallying previously McCain-doubting conservative Catholics to John McCain's cause.
What he is saying is that the CIA should be permitted to practice other interrogation techniques than those listed in the army field manual. He would want these techniques to be in line with international law, but he does not want to tie the CIA's hands to a limited selection of acceptable techniques when there may well be other acceptable techniques that could be used. In fact, one might speculate that there may be some techniques - perfectly acceptable ones - that take advantage of the fact that the CIA is secret. I don't mean that there are immoral techniques like torture that the CIA could use because nobody would know about it. I simply mean that I am sure there are different things you can say to a person in one context than in another...
Some comments, calling into question the good faith of those taking a particular side in an argument, warrant a verbal (if not a literal) punch in the nose.
Good thing our buddy Dale is around instead to answer such BS commentary in a calm and reasoned fashion. Good on ya, Dale.
For whatever reason, Dale seems to have the magic touch when it comes to Mark. Something Dale wrote caused Mark to sorta back off the intensity of his criticism of McCain's vote, even though Mark continues to hold the line that McCain's vote was an unprincipled attempt to garner support from the GOP base.
Nevertheless, for whatever reason, Dale seems to have some sort of soothing effect where Mark is concerned. I think I'll start calling him "the Shea Whisperer".