John McCain and Donald Trump drew lines as political enemies after the latter questioned McCain’s war hero status. McCain, of course, spent over five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam where he was beaten by guards and kept in solitary confinement. Trump has argued for reinstating waterboarding “at a minimum,” meaning that he’d like to go even further with torture during interrogation techniques. This weekend at the Halifax International Security Forum, McCain aired his feelings on Trump’s declaration:
“If they started waterboarding, I swear to you there’s a whole bunch of us that would have them in court in a New York minute. And there’s no judge in America that wouldn’t say they they’re in violation of the law because it’s specifically in law now that prohibitive. 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. We will not torture. My God, what does it say about America if we’re going to inflict torture on people?”
Trump had previously insisted that torture works to divulge enemy secrets: “Those techniques get information. I don’t care what anyone says.” He also said prep school prepared him for battle more than any military experience could ever do. It’s hard to figure out how Trump could know this, considering how he deferred the draft four times, including one time for “heel spurs.”
On Sunday, Mike Pence played coy as always when questioned on CBS’ Face the Nation about whether Trump will truly allow waterboarding: “We’re going to have a president who will never say what we’ll never do.”
Both Trump and Pence are completely ignoring the fact that both U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions outlaw torture. In addition, President Obama drew up an executive order to bring the U.S. into full compliance with the Geneva Conventions by specifically banning waterboarding along with other forms of torture. This followed questions of whether George W. Bush’s administration tortured detainees after 9/11, which they denied doing, although an outgoing CIA director admitted that waterboarding was used on a few al-Qaeda operatives shortly after 9/11.