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GOP candidates won't say 'T-word' in discussing waterboarding

November 14, 2011 |  2:00 pm

Sen. John McCain

It's always gratifying to hear the voice of experience dress down a callow youth. Except for the fact that the callow ones were adults, that's a good description of Sen. John McCain's rebuke of several GOP presidential candidates who said waterboarding wasn't torture.

In a Republican presidential debate focusing on foreign policy on Saturday, Herman Cain recycled a Bush administration euphemism in saying that waterboarding was "an enhanced interrogation technique." Michele Bachmann said waterboarding "gained information for our country." Rick Santorum and Rick Perry said they supported any and all necessary enhanced interrogation techniques. 

McCain, a former prisoner of war, tweeted a rebuttal: "Very disappointed by statements at SC GOP debate supporting waterboarding. Waterboarding is torture."

It's sometimes forgotten that McCain provided cover for the enactment of anti-torture legislation that remains on the books. He couldn't be dismissed as a soft-headed ACLU type. The soft-headed ones were -- and are -- those who won't call torture by its name.

RELATED:

GOP contenders spar over Pakistan, foreign aid at debate

A comeback for Newt Gingrich?

 --Michael McGough

Photo: Arizona Sen. John McCain in Washington last week. Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

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