Need Some Help With This One, Senator McCain - How Does Investigating, Punishing Our Law-Breakers Hurt America’s Image Abroad, Sir?
From the 7/12/ 2009 NBC “Meet The Press” program, host David Gregory doing the questioning
GREGORY: Speaking about investigations, there’s now word from Newsweek magazine today with a story about the attorney general, that he’s getting closer to investigating alleged torture during the Bush administration.
This is the reporting from Daniel Klaidman, that Holder “may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four sources telling Newsweek that he’s now leaning towards appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices.”
Would that be a good idea?
MCCAIN: No. Look, I fought against waterboarding. I said waterboarding was torture. We passed the Detainee Treatment Act, which prohibited cruel and inhumane treatment. I have spoken out as forcefully as possible everywhere against what went on and that we need — it harms our image so much around the world when photographs come out and — we all know that bad things were done.
We all know that the operatives who did it most likely were under orders to do so. For us to continue this and harm our image throughout the world — I agree with the president of the United States, it’s time to move forward and not go back.
GREGORY: But where’s the accountability?
MCCAIN: Well, the accountability, obviously, is that people’s reputations have been harmed very badly. The question is — is do we want America’s image harmed more by dragging this out further and further?
You’ve got to — what’s going to be the positive result from airing out and ventilating details of what we already knew took place and should never have, and we are committed to making sure never happens again?
I do not excuse it, I’m just saying what’s the, what’s the effect on America’s image in the world?
I don’t — I don’t mean to drag out my answer, but I did meet with a high ranking member of Al Qaida in a prison in Iraq who said his greatest recruiting tool was the pictures of Abu Ghraib. We don’t want to give the — the terrorists and the radical Islamic extremists more tools and bullets to shoot against us and help their recruiting in this ongoing struggle we’re in.