The New Political Visibility of Torture

The Story:

With the nomination of Gina Haspel to be the next CIA Director, the issue of torture, or of “enhanced interrogation,” has become a political flashpoint in a way that it hasn’t been for at least a decade.

An Exchange with the McCains: 

On Tuesday, March 13, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said that “the torture of U.S. detainees in U.S. custody” in the period after the 9/11 attacks “was one of the darkest chapters in American history” and Ms Haspel’s involvement must be scrutinized closely before she can be confirmed as Director.

Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, objected to these remarks. She tweeted on the same day that the interrogations to which McCain was objecting gained valuable intelligence, saved lives, and led to the successful strike against Osama bin Laden.

Meghan McCain, the Senator’s daughter, tweeted back on Thursday, March 15, “My father doesn’t need torture explained to him.”

The Thing to Know:

John McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam from October 1967 until March 1973. He was severely tortured, receiving beatings two or three times a week because of his refusal to sign prepared propagandist ‘confessions.’

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