John McCain: Blowhard and Phony


When John McCain goes on national television today to defend his "victory" concerning treatment of prisoners in United States custody, he will become the latest casualty of the Bush Administration’s "War on Terror."

John McCain’s "presidency" dies today. His surrender to Bush Administration demands for broad power to torture prisoners disgraces him and makes him nothing more than just another blowhard and phony in Washington.

McCain’s "compromise" makes a mockery of American principles of justice and humanity. And he has ripped off the good will and credibility of other notable Americans, such as Colin Powell, en route to his pathetic Pyrric victory.

The new Republican law demonstrates as well the utter bankruptcy and cowardice of the Democratic Party. Seemingly not one person of integrity serves in our congress, Senate or House, confident enough in his or her own decency to condemn the bloodthirsty legislation that is about to be passed.

I briefly worked in the U. S. Senate during the early stages of the Viet-Nam War. I saw brave senators stand up and tell President Johnson his policies were folly and would lead to disgrace and disaster. Which senator or representative will stand up and do likewise in 2006? Apparently no one.

The proposed law dishonors the office of President. President Bush, who styled himself the Decider-in-Chief, will now become, officially, the Torturer in Chief. The president is directed to superintend and supervise torture procedures. What possible sickness has descended on our capital, that our leaders have stooped to these barbaric procedures, and disgraced every American?

The new law seeks to eviscerate judicial review and the ancient writ of Habeas Corpus, the Great Writ that was cemented in common law by Magna Carta in the year 1215. Right-wing Republicans have conducted merciless hostilities against Habeas Corpus for decades; now they have focused on erasing the writ as a bulwark against unlawful detention.

The CIA, compromised and disgraced by Bush Administration incompetence in Iraq, now becomes the official site for torture and barbarism. And they want to recruit on college campuses? What will their ads say? Students! Join us and learn the latest techniques in torture and barbaric treatment of prisoners! We torture on a nondiscriminatory basis, guilty or innocent. Join us as we descend into bloodthirsty anarchy in the "War against Terror," and become carbon copies of the very savages we claim to be pursuing. Full benefits and liberal retirement.

What a disgrace.

McCain & Co are reducing America’s intelligence service to nothing more than a thuggish operation in a Middle East or Banana Republic dictatorship. We are all diminished.

McCain promised he would fight for humane treatment of prisoners. He knows something about that, because he was tortured himself. Especially for him, who has endured torture, to endorse torture and enact torture into American law, sadly reflects how the lure of living in the White House has corrupted his decency and common sense.

To quote from the play by Robert Bolt, "A Man for All Seasons:"

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake! [Quotes courtesy of]

We lionize Sir Thomas More centuries after his death because he knew there could be no compromise with evil, but that by becoming evil to fight evil we undermined our own souls. McCain has apparently forgotten what he learned as a prisoner in Viet-Nam.

The president wants the power to approve torture, to repeal laws, to muzzle courts. And to fight for "freedom and democracy." So, we will become a vile dictatorship to fight for freedom. Something is seriously sick in the Bush Administration, and now the pox has infected McCain, Senator John Warner and Senator Lindsey Graham.

But where are the Democrats? Cowering in fear they may be accused of being soft on terrorists? Where are their leaders?

Tony Snow said Bush already plans to violate the very law he is going to sign, and to approve secret torture sessions by the CIA, like Torquemada during the Inquisition.

I wish Bush would do the honest thing, and insist that the torture be conducted in the White House, so he would be accountable and personally supervise the barbaric techniques. He could reduce himself to the level of Saddam Hussein. U. S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner states in a recent book that if judges who authorize the death penalty had to push the button or insert the poisoned needle, there would be fewer executions. Yup.

Once we confess and admit how low we have fallen as a society, the president can entertain White House visitors by inviting them to observe CIA torture sessions in the basement. Maybe we should televise our torture sessions, to make the public feel "safer" because barbarism is being conducted in the name of public safety. People would watch.

We will have become just as thuggish and just as malignant and just as evil as the Osamas and Zarqawis we pursue across the globe.

Like a scared child, McCain read the stories this week that said his pursuit of human rights was endangering his chances of being the Republican candidate for President in 2008 (Washington Post 9/19). So he panicked and abandoned human rights. Today he will try to lie to us, and tell us he really won significant protections. What hooey. What a pack of lies. McCain will confirm he is just another right-wing blowhard and phony, who milks the media for coverage as an honest man, and then quickly jettisons his conscience when it interferes with his political ambition.

McCain has tried to sashay around the Bush gang by not fully associating himself with the horrors of Bush II. Now he will have nowhere to hide. He may win the nomination by authorizing torture, but in the long run his perfidiousness will bear bitter fruit and possibly elect Hillary Clinton.

The Israelis have used torture; their Supreme Court has officially endorsed barbarism as a national policy. And what has it gotten them? Safety? Security? Peace? Not at all. By increasingly adopting the failed policies of the Israeli government we are repeating their tragic errors.

Torture, moreover, doesn’t work. Bush may claim it does, but does he have firsthand knowledge? Doubtful. He has little firsthand knowledge about what is happening anywhere in his administration. He does what he is told, and what he is told is that America must adopt barbarism as a national policy as a means of fighting barbarism. We must become beasts to fight beasts.

We must destroy the fabric of our society to protect our society. Not since the village of Ben Tre was destroyed during the Viet-Nam War to "save" it, have we seen such blatant official self-destructiveness.

We tortured prisoners in Viet-Nam. Did it help us win? Who would say so?

And now, once again, the American people are being led to the slaughter, as inevitably we will be slaughtered because of the stupidity and cowardice of our leaders. We will suffer the consequences of being made prisoners at home to "free" the world abroad. It won’t work. We will only exacerbate the alienation and hostility that increasingly separate us from the rest of civilization.

By scaring us into adopting their tactics, the terrorists are winning. And today they claim their latest "prisoner:" POW John McCain, formerly of Hanoi, and now a prisoner of White House fever.

The McCain Presidency dies today. R. I. P.

These are dark days for America. With each day, desperate Republicans seek to demonize people of good will who support the war on terror but oppose allowing our government servants to become as evil as the enemy. Like McCain, the Republicans will win a hollow victory if they seek to smear Democrats on "terrorism" as a means of seeking victory in November.

Ultimately, America will become just what its most ridiculous enemies (such as Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez] claim we are: the world’s biggest terrorist state.

Senator McCain, don’t do it.