McCain: No waterboarding, period
Former POW takes issue with Giuliani's stance on interrogation method
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
October 25, 2007
Sioux Center, Ia. — Waterboarding is a form of torture no matter how it is done and should be a prohibited among U.S. military interrogation practices, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said today, taking issue with GOP rival Rudy Giuliani’s recent remarks.
“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak,” said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here.
“People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that.”
McCain, who was tortured as prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese military after his plane was shot down 40 years ago Friday, made it clear he disagreed with Giuliani. The former New York mayor did not entirely condemn waterboarding as in interrogation technique when asked about it Wednesday night in Davenport.
“It depends on how it is done; it depends on the circumstances; it depends on who does it,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said. “I think the way it has been defined in the media, it shouldn’t be done. ... I would say if that is the description of it, then I can agree that it shouldn’t be done,” he said, adding that he doesn’t necessarily trust the media’s description and has yet to learn “what the real description of it is.”
McCain has been outspoken in his opposition to torture techniques and his belief that the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay should be closed. He said Thursday that while fictional character Jack Bauer on the television show “24” “is my hero, that doesn’t exist in the real world.”
“When I was imprisoned, I took heart from the fact that I knew my North Vietnamese captors would never be treated like I was treated by them,” McCain said, who has pointed out that his opposition to torture among Republican presidential candidates is based on military experience not shared by his opponents. “There are much better and more effective ways to get information. You torture someone long enough, he’ll tell whatever he thinks you want to know.”
McCain’s campaign stop at the small Christian college attracted a crowd of about 300 students, faculty and area residents to the DeYager Student Activity Center. The stop took place on the second day of three-day swing in Iowa in McCain’s bid for a top finishing spot in the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican caucuses.
The Arizona Republican was also scheduled to appear tonight at an issues forum sponsored by AARP in Sioux City. He and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee were the only two Republican candidates to agree to appear at the forum.
McCain backers contend that despite a nightmarish summer in which the Arizona Republican fell to fourth or fifth place among GOP hopefuls in Iowa, they believe he is going to have a resurgence in Iowa.
“I think it is just a matter of getting him in front of as many Iowans as we can,” Dick Johnson, former state auditor and one of McCain’s top Iowa backers. “We need to work hard for every vote we can get, but the more he is here, the easier it is for us. I think we will see a lot of him over the next two months.”