Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was so upset over the report on torture, released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, that he made an unusual offer. He suggested demonstrating the ineffectiveness of torture by waterboarding Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). McCain said:
“I can get the Honorable Senator Cruz to admit he’s a fan of kiddie porn — even though everyone knows that can’t possibly be true — or to admit he’s a closet homo — even though that would be an outright, lowdown lie — or to promise to skedaddle back to Canada as soon as the demonstration is over and never return to the United States again — even though we know he’s so patriotic that his blood runs red, white, and blue.”
McCain, of course, was himself the victim of torture when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. His point was that someone can be made to say anything in order to get the torture to stop. When Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked McCain why he would be willing to create so much suffering for Cruz, the senator from Arizona replied:
“It’ll just be the one time and, believe me, it won’t take 30 seconds for me to have the Honorable Senator from Texas crying and whining and begging to say anything I want to hear.”
The reaction in the chamber was notable, first of all because Sen. Cruz was not present to indicate agreement. But secondly because there were many thoughtful looks and much general head-nodding over the proposal.
Before anyone could make a motion to vote on the measure, however, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) raised an objection. He said:
“That’s really going to mess up the carpet. How long would it take you to get answers if we just stripped him naked, shackled his wrists to his ankles, and held a lit cigarette to his butt?”