TORTURE-VICTIM McCAIN ASSAILS GIULIANI
(...ha-ha, just kidding)
John McCain is in a fierce uphill battle with Rudy Giuliani for the Republican presidential nomination and he was brutally tortured as a POW during the Vietnam War. So, is he loudly and passionately denouncing Giuliani's glib dismissals of torture this week?
Er, no, as Liz Mair of The American Spectator notes:
... his most recent poke at the ex-Mayor, during a conference call yesterday with bloggers, over whether waterboarding equates to torture, looked more friendly than feisty, with McCain saying, "My friend Rudy should know what waterboarding is, and should know whether it is torture or not."
Well, of course, McCain sold out to the current president on torture, so inevitably he'll be willing to sell out to the next one as well.
Beyond that, the key words there seem to be "My friend Rudy": McCain and Giuliani are huge pals.
Mair wonders what's going on:
... McCain's willingness to play nice with Giuliani looks even more odd considering his frequent, harsh swats at Romney. The McCain-Giuliani chumminess, especially when combined with Giuliani's indications that he'd be backing McCain were he not running, and McCain's praising of Giuliani in debates, therefore raises another possibility. Could McCain be hitting out at Romney in an attempt (however unconscious) to bolster Giuliani's campaign and smash Romney's to smithereens?
I'm not ruling out a VP slot -- the two of them may decide their combined down-the-middle appeal would more than offset the loss of disaffected wingnuts in a general election. Or they might just decide to do it because they like hanging out together a lot.
UPDATE: The New York Times is referring to a separate McCain comment (in a phone interview) as "a sharp rebuke," but here's what he said:
"All I can say is that it was used in the Spanish Inquisition, it was used in Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia, and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today," Mr. McCain, who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, said in a telephone interview.
Of presidential candidates like Mr. Giuliani, who say that they are unsure whether waterboarding is torture, Mr. McCain said: "They should know what it is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture."
And here's what he said at a campaign stop:
"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."
"They." "Anyone." Not "he" or "Mayor Giuliani." It's as if he feels obligated to state his position, but he's terrified at the prospect that his criticism will stick to his pal Rudy.