September 5th, 2007
10:20 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain says no to torture

(CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in North Vietnam, warned his Republican rivals during Wednesday night's GOP debate about the consequences of using torture on enemy combatants.

"The risk is that when an American is in the hands of an enemy, that they will use the fact that we tortured people as an excuse to torture our brave men and women in the military," said the presidential hopeful. "I'm not prepared to expose them to that."

After his plane was shot down in Vietnam in 1967, McCain was held as a prisoner of war at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" for five and a half years.

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich


Filed under: John McCain • New Hampshire
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Christian, Tampa FL

    McCain was brilliant about this. I fear for the nation if one of those other "let's torture for info" candidates wins.

    Good for him for standing for morality, something increasingly rare with this field of Republican candidates.

    September 5, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  2. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    This should be a foregone conclusion. We are not (or at least we weren't) a fascist regime run by thugs and true-believing ideolgues who think such rules are "quaint" and should be disregarded since we are so certain of our righteousness (like the followers of Osama are so sure that god is on their side too).
    People like that are the most dangerous.
    The fact that we are even debating our use of torture is disgraceful. What depth of depravity and dishonor have our current rulers brought us to? We are breaking the very rules of international law that we spent a half century or more to build since the end of World War 2.

    September 5, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. Brad, Burbank, CA

    I cannot believe our (Republican) politicians actually need to debate this long settled question. It because of this alarming fact that the Republican nominee will likely get trounced in the upcoming presidential election. Get a clue, Republicans.

    Let me make this simple: Torture bad, habeas corpus good.

    //This message from a conservative former Republican.

    September 5, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. Lance in Monrovia, CA

    Damn you disappoint me, Mr. McCain. Once upon a time I thought you'd make a decent president. You were someone who stood by his ideals.

    Then you complained just a bit when Habius corpus was overturned in this country, and then said no more. You allowed one of the most fundamental rights of all detainees going all the way back to the Magna Carte to be overturned. You allowed our great Republic to be chipped away at, when you voted to allow torture, to allow the removal of habius corpus, when you allowed the definitions of terrorism and terrorists to be defined by a President without good judgement or morals.

    It is shameful that you were once a prisoner of war and that you stood by and voted out of expedience politically, to further your Presidential bid no doubt. If anyone doesn't know what habius corpus is, it is "to produce the body." Until very recently in this country, no one could be tried without knowing their crimes, without seeing the evidence against them.

    No longer. Thanks to Mr. McCain and others of his ilk, all someone has to do is pick up a phone, call you a terrorist, and you can disappear into the good night just like citizens of Germany in 1931 or Imperial Rome of 500 b.c.

    I expected more from you sir, I actually really, really did. You were one last ray of light in the Republican party and you damn well blew it, and now you're paying the price because you've flipped and flopped so many times I've lost count.

    But you deserve to flounder sir, because you have become a tool of the neocons you should have opposed from the start.

    You are still fighting Vietnam and it's sad to see. You are a relic, with memories so burned into your head of abandoning another country caught in civil war, that you cannot allow it to happen again, even though if you were thinking clearly you'd realize this is a different time, a different war, and under different circumstances.

    This war is about money, it is about fear, it is about political control of not just our country but of the world, through that most black of all things,... oil.

    You would do well to remember that, before you speak of honor and prisoners of war and human rights.

    And next time, vote your heart not eighty percent of the time, but one hundred.

    September 6, 2007 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  5. Glen Hirsch Ozark,Missouri

    As a veteran Tow Missile Gunner I agree with McCain. Now as a nurse I am disgusted that we are inserting feeding tubes into prisoners in Gitmo. The minute I saw pictures of what our government did to prisoners in Iraq, I wanted to vomit. Sombody had to get their nose bloodied for 911, so I am not against us going over there. But we lost all credibility with the entire world when we started torturing POWS. And our New World Order Government uses politically correct phrases like "Enemy Combatents" and "Stress Positions" while allowing some immature young female PFC to take the blame for what they knew was going on. We are losing our constitutional rights every day,and I swore an oath to defend them. We have all the natural resources we need in the USA. Lets shut the borders down. Kick the multi-national corporations out and prepare for what lies ahead. We are being sold down the river by rich liberals with no morals and no belief in our Creator. If we are going to lose all our rights then elect me supreme dictator of the US and I'll Git'r done. Of course although I have been a huge fan of CNN since I was a kid,Now that they are "Fair & Balanced" I'll assume they wont post this. I remember when you used to get 15 Minutes worth of news on Cnn before a commercial, Now there is a commercial every 7 minutes. Whats Next?

    September 6, 2007 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  6. draganmb

    That's true,using torture is no good,because these are old methods,huma- nity,hopefully evolved during the last decades.If a military army tortures the captured enemyes,than this will happen to other people,maybe innocent one that fall into the middle of a conflict.

    September 6, 2007 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  7. onemom

    I appreciate McCain's service to this country and the terrible things he must have endured as a POW. I do question his logic on this one ... does he really believe that if we're nice to their prisoners then they'll be nice to ours? I don't believe that for a minute.

    September 6, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |