Yet Again: John McCain Has NOT Been an Opponent of Torture

Let’s get this straight:

1788 United states ratifies Constitution, ordaining that all treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land.

1791 United States ratifies the Bill of Rights, banning cruel and unusual punishment.

1948 United States joins the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, forbidding cruel, infamous or unusual punishment.

1948 United States ratifies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights banning torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

1949 United States ratifies Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, banning violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, as well as outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.

1950s provisions of the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice fobid various types of torture.

1968 John McCain is tortured.

1992 United States ratifies the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), banning torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

1994 United States ratifies the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), requiring that the United States work to prevent all forms of torture.

1994 The United States makes torture a felony in the U.S. Code through the anti-torture statute.

1996 The United States makes torture an additional felony in the U.S. Code through the war crimes statute.

2002 On February 7, President George W. Bush signs a directive illegally and ridiculously purporting to legalize torture.

2005 John McCain champions the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for 2005, which passes the Congress and is signed into law by Bush, adding one more redundant ban on torture to existing U.S. law, despite Vice President Cheney having lobbied hard against it. But McCain (1) allows a major loophole for the CIA, meaning that the law does not re-ban torture yet again but rather claims to legalize it, and then (2) keeps quiet when Bush throws out the whole thing with a “signing statement.” Bush and Cheney’s administration continues to torture.

2006 Time magazine recognizes McCain’s efforts to supposedly ban torture in naming him one of America’s 10 Best Senators. Time makes no mention of the fact that torture had always been illegal, the fact that Bush had thrown out the new law with a “signing statement,” or the fact that the United States was continuing to torture people on a large scale.

2006 McCain votes in favor of the Military Commissions Act which claims to leave torture decisions up to the president, or in other words purports to again legalize torture.

2008 In February, McCain votes against a bill that would supposedly re-ban torture another time, and then applauds Bush for vetoing the bill.

2008 McCain runs for president, and almost nobody mentions his positions on torture, not even his fiercest critics. It is as if one of the most repulsive moral collapses in U.S. political history has never happened. And yet McCain and his campaign rarely open their mouths without taking us back to 1968 when McCain was tortured. McCain critics even make lists and videos of his “flip-flops” and never mention his actual votes and actions on torture.

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