President-elect Donald Trump vowed to to bring back waterboarding during his campaign, and his recent choice of Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director has also raised further questions about whether or not this administration plans to embrace the use of torture.
But John McCain is having none of it.
Appearing at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia on Saturday, the Arizona senator defiantly stated that the United States will not engage in torture under any circumstances.
“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not waterboard,” the senator said.
“We will not do it” McCain said to loud applause.
Sen. McCain, a chairman of the Armed Services Committee who was also tortured during the Vietnam War as a prisoner of war, noted that such interrogation practices were already banned by both U.S. law and the Geneva conventions.
McCain asked during the forum “What does it say about America if we’re going to inflict torture on people?”
The senator has long been outspoken against torture carried out by the U.S. When the 2014 Senate Committee’s Report on the CIA’s Use of Torture showed that the U.S. had engaged in some of this behavior, McCain condemned waterboarding on the senate floor as “mock execution” that was an “exquisite form of torture.”
“It’s use was shameful and unnecessary,” McCain said.
“Contrary to assertions made by some of its defenders, and as the committee’s report makes clear, it produced little useful intelligence to help us track down the perpetrators of 9/11 or prevent new attacks and atrocities,” the senator noted.
“We don’t torture,” President George W. Bush said in 2006, though the 2014 report shows that some of these practices were used on his watch. President Obama vowed to end torture, but has a mixed record.
President Trump said torture would be allowed under his administration back in March because “We have to beat the savages.”