McCain and Waterboarding
Many conservatives have complained about John McCain’s opposition to waterboarding. McCain is absolutely against it. Many conservatives consider waterboarding an important national security measure, and one that should be a major argument against McCain.
John McCain deserves a great deal of the rancor he receives from conservatives, but they are wrong to make so much of this issue. Personally, I support the use of (very) limited waterboarding. However, this is indisputably a very complex, difficult moral issue. Given McCain’s experiences as a Vietnam POW, his opposition to anything close to torture is understandable. While I don’t agree with him on this issue, I can respect his beliefs regarding waterboarding.
Many conservatives do not, however, and their reasons for doing so are almost as confusing as Hillary Clinton’s stance on Iraq. According to these types, waterboarding is essential for our national defense, and we hardly ever use it anyway. They are right about the “hardly ever use it” part, as the United States has employed waterboarding for less than five minutes over the entire extent of the War on Terror, and it has been used on only three of Al-Qaeda’s worst, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and Abu Zubaydah. It makes one wonder why, if waterboarding is used so rarely, it is such a point of contention with so many. Can something used to rarely really be absolutely essential? It is undoubtedly a nice option for interrogators, but a ban on waterboarding probably would not greatly affect the War on Terror one way or the other.
Conservatives have a multitude of reasons to oppose John McCain. Waterboarding should not be one of them. It is not such a clear-cut moral issue that anyone could reasonably say that their stance is absolutely, undoubtedly right. Conservatives should remind themselves of McCain’s flaws, but should be fair in doing so.