John McCain is using phrases like “banana Republic” and “witch hunt” now trying to prevent Republicans being jailed over the crimes revealed in the bipartisan Senate Armed Services Report he signed. McCain should learn from history, and also look to the groundswell of support Obama is enjoying. McCain is on the losing side on this one.
Commentary By: Steven Reynolds
John McCain decided to whine yesterday. Loud whine, partisan whine. The whine came just a day after the release of the Senate Armed Services Report on torture that he signed, a report that devastatingly details the abuses during the Bush Administration. that report has helped fuel the calls for investigations and possible prosecutions concerning the illegal use of torture presumably ordered by Bush Administration officials. So John McCain is partly responsibile for feeding the public’s interest in justice, but he’s whining about what would happen if such an investigation gets underway. He warns about a “witch hunt,” as reported by Politico:
The former GOP presidential nominee and POW supported Obama’s decision to end the use of waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation” techniques but insisted that those who gave legal advice should not be prosecuted because they were “sworn to do their duty to the best of their ability.”
“Look, I didn’t agree, as you said, with the techniques – and I’d be glad to continue that debate with people. But to criminalize their legal counsel, unless you can prove that they intentionally violated existing laws or ethics, then this is going to turn into a witch hunt,” he said.
McCain compared the potential prosecutions with the actions of “banana republics” that “prosecute people for actions they didn’t agree with under previous administrations.”
“To go back on a witch hunt that could last for a year or so, frankly, is going to be bad for the country, bad for future presidents – precedents that may be set by this, and certainly nonproductive in trying to pursue the challenges we face,” he said.
First of all, John McCain, these lawyers on the Bush Administration team may indeed have been doing the best in their ability, but it is clear now that their abilities were just fine as far as legal skills are concerned, and about nil as far as understanding and valuing the constitution. But this is a side issue. What we are talking about when we want justice concerning the illegal actions of the Bush Administration doesn’t have to do so much with the tainted lawyers, but about the people who ordered the policies that caused torture int he first place. That ain’t a witch hunt, John, and it ain’t just about disagreements in policy. This is about illegal acts that your report claims has massively damaged US reputation around the world and consequently our abilities to combat terrorism. It’s about crime, John.
McCain buggy whips out phrases like “witch hunt” and “banana Republic” in order to inflame things politically, but his own people are doing even uglier things. If John McCain values his party, of which he was the leader mere months ago, then he needs to take the lead in calming the rhetoric about “socialism,” and other crackpot crap. If McCain wants bipartisanship that lets us look forward without healing the wounds made to our national soul by the Bush torture policies, then he ought to check a little about whether bipartisanship is possible on his side of the aisle. The “Just Say No” faction of the GOP, which appears to be all of them, isn’t going to reconcile whatsoever even if Obama is successful in making the inquiries into Bush Administration torture programs go forward calmly and deliberately.
Of course, John McCain knows there are more reports going to come out, including a release of pictures of the degrading treatment of prisoners conducted under the Bush Administration. Heck, today’s report about over 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths isn’t going to help McCain, and he knows that the calls for a reconciliation commission, the calls for accountability, are going to ring louder before they quiet down. And John McCain knows that Americans are happy with Barack Obama as President, are for the first time in a long time Americans are believing that this country is going the right direction.
John McCain needs to get his own political house in order before he goes slinging words like “banana Republic” and “witch hunt” around. Let’s dismiss that “banana Republic” is a new talking point foisted on him by the RNC and look at realities here. John, we have illegalities that have almost certainly gone down in the Bush Administration. Those illegalities revolve around the use of torture, among other issues. The crimes that have taken place have severely harmed our national moral image, the one thing America could always be proud of. John, YOU were proud to serve because America was a moral beacon to the world, but while you were serving, John, another Republican President broke laws. With Watergate we took the miscreants to task and it did not harm our country. I would argue it made us better. I need, and we all need, for America to be better. Don’t stand in our way, John McCain, as we seek to heal. Don’t you dare.