Assertions that enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding led to the killing of Osama bin Laden are false, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wrote in an Op-Ed published in The Washington Post
. The former presidential candidate and prisoner of war also said that some of the techniques used, particularly waterboarding, constitute torture and are “prohibited by American laws and values.”
McCain, who endured torture while a prisoner during the Vietnam War, disputed assertions of Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey that disclosures from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, obtained after waterboarding, led to bin Laden.
“In fact, the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information . . . According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee . . . was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.”
McCain continued, “I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear — true or false — if he believes it will relieve his suffering. Often, information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading.
“Mistreatment of enemy prisoners endangers our own troops, who might someday be held captive. While some enemies and al-Qaeda surely, will never be bound by the principle of reciprocity, we should have concern for those Americans captured by more conventional enemies, if not in this war then in the next.”
McCain concluded that America must “stand as an example of a nation that holds an individual’s human rights as superior to the will of the majority or the wishes of government.”
“I don’t mourn the loss of any terrorist’s life. What I do mourn is what we lose when by official policy or official neglect we confuse or encourage those who fight this war for us to forget that best sense of ourselves. Through the violence, chaos and heartache of war, through deprivation and cruelty and loss, we are always Americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us.”
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