Is He Against Torture?

The LA Times accuses Mac of flip-flopping on a key issue
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2008 6:45 PM CST
Is He Against Torture?
Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at the Outagamie County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Appleton, Wis., Monday, Feb. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)   (Associated Press)

The LA Times editorial board today slammed John McCain for a vote the paper feels undermines the senator’s “admirable” opposition to torture in interrogations. McCain, whom the Times endorsed earlier this month, voted against legislation that forbids CIA interrogators from using waterboarding or other methods banned by the Army Field Manual. The law passed the House and the Senate, but now faces the Bush veto—something the Times thinks the GOP frontrunner’s support could’ve mitigated.

McCain says his vote doesn’t constitute support for waterboarding because a 2005 law he sponsored explicitly prohibits it, and feels that, waterboarding aside, the CIA should have a freer hand than the army in collecting information. The Times thinks this creates a double standard that the administration can exploit to do what it wants—a steadfast opponent of torture, the paper argues, needs to combat it at every turn. (Read more John McCain stories.)

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