John McCain’s Tortured Humor About Waterboarding

John McCain

Is John McCain losing it?  Maybe advisors during that retreat at the plantation suggested that instead of talking about rape Republicans should joke about torture.

During a news conference about a recent congressional mission to Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel and Jordan, reporters asked McCain about John Kerry’s confirmation hearings scheduled for next week.

After noting that he intends to interrogate Kerry “mercilessly”   McCain went on to say, ”We will bring back for the only time waterboarding to get the truth out of him.”

Before going further, it is important to recognize that McCain’s comment was an effort to be funny – and it appeared to succeed with the people present.

Video link:


Clearly, you can see from the video that McCain’s comment was an attempt to be humorous.

McCain knows that waterboarding is torture and opposed it throughout the years, including in his op-ed on Bin Laden’s death and the torture debate.

Much of this debate is a definitional one: whether any or all of these methods constitute torture. I believe some of them do, especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution and thus an exquisite form of torture. As such, they are prohibited by American laws and values, and I oppose them. (my emphasis)

He tweeted criticism of Republican primary candidates who would resurrect torture.


More recently, he joined with Senators Feinstein and Levinson to criticize  Zero Dark Thirty because the movie’s fictional account of Bin Laden’s capture,  infers that torture led to it.

There’s no doubt in my mind that McCain’s comment was intended to be humorous.

Still, there is something disturbing about it.  As Jason Easley said in his post about the most recent school shooting, we live in a culture that glorifies violence.  We see it in the news, on television, at the movies.  There are video games, books and music glorifying violence in general.

There has been plenty of justification and glorification of torture as well.  Once it was impossible to deny that the Bush administration had a torture program, Republicans spent years defending and justifying it. With the exceptions of Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, all the clowns in the Republican Party’s 2012 primary supported reinstating torture. Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisers, including Liz Cheney, recommended resurrecting the Bush torture program.

When Osama Bin Laden was captured, the Republicans like Steve King used the opportunity to resurrect their claim that torture is good when we do it, because (according to them) torture led to Bin Laden.

Torture was glorified in the television show, “24′  More recently Zero Dark Thirty’s fictional account about Bin Laden’s capture suggests that torture played an important role.

McCain intended to be funny when he suggested waterboarding John Kerry but some things are never humorous.  As a comedian, McCain really should stick to his day job.

Comments are closed.