Former New York Governor George Pataki says Arizona Sen. John McCain is wrong on the issue of torture and that the "enhanced interrogation" methods detailed in the Senate report are not comparable at all to what McCain experienced as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
"We don't engage in torture," Pataki said in an interview with Concord New Radio Thursday, in which he said he was considering a possible presidential bid in 2016. "That's a term that Feinstein and Obama use but that others have rejected. Yes, it's enhanced interrogation but it's nothing comparable at all to what McCain underwent in Vietnam."
"I understand, he was a hero. He behaved with incredible patriotism and personal bravery and we should give credit for that. But I think what Americans have done to try to get intelligence on those who'd attack us and kill innocent civilians and engage in brutal terrorist acts again remotely resembles that."
The former Republican governor added McCain was a member of the United States military and "subject when captured to the Geneva Convention." He added members of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban were not subject those same laws governing the treatment of prisoners.
McCain broke with the majority of his colleagues on Tuesday and praised the release of the Senate Democrats' report saying torture was a "stain on our national honor" and "the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies."
McCain's torture in Vietnam featured repeated savage beatings and rope bindings that has left him limited mobility in his arms.
"I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good," McCain said Tuesday.
The Senate Intelligence Committee's 525-page report details cases of detainees being waterboarded to near-death, days worth of sleep deprivation, a detainee chained to the ceiling while clothed in a diaper to go to the bathroom, rectal feeding and rectal rehydration, and a detainee spending more 10 days in a coffin-shaped box, among other details.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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