Alas, John McCain:
Oh, dear John McCain, sweet Senator from Arizona, how the Rude Pundit feels for you. You remember every night, don't you, Senator McCain, the pain and humiliation dealt to you at the hands of the Vietcong. God, what they did to you, in those years as a POW, held in bamboo cages. How they hurt you, Senator McCain, broke your teeth, broke your bones. How tight were the ropes that bound your arms, twisting them, contorting your muscles. "Torture ropes," as you called them, are meant to make control of a prisoner simple - just a brief pull and the verge of pain upon which you've been living becomes the precipice of pain that you feel. How they beat you, Senator McCain, viciously, on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day, demanding that you say you're a criminal, a terrorist, if you will.

They fucked you up - they re-broke bones that had healed, they jumped on injuries, they starved you, and they made you stand for days on end. And they questioned you, over and over and over. They say solitary confinement is an unending nightmare, and you were not only alone - your ventilation and light had been cut off, and the hell of your loneliness was compounded by the wet heat of the peninsula. You know, Senator McCain, you alone in that Senate chamber know what is what when it comes to torture. And you also know that the moment will come when even the hardest men will break and gladly confess lies about themselves. After nearly killing yourself because of the constant pain, you signed a confession. You wrote, "I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate," words you knew were ludicrous at best and baseless lies at bottom. But you signed, you signed, you just wanted the fucking pain to end and who, really, could blame you but cowards and liars themselves.

Yes, yes, we know that you were a real soldier of a nation's military, a real prisoner of a real war so that the breaking of the Geneva Convention was more clear-cut. But, in the end, what happened to you meets the boundaries of legal torture laid out in the memo that Alberto Gonzales requested: you were never brought to organ failure or, indeed, death. If you support Gonzales or the President on this, what you will say is that others deserve what you went through, that your torture at the hands of your captors will be simply the average, expected behavior of our nation towards those we pre-deem evil. Like the North Vietnamese believed you were.

And you will have contradicted yourself with your amendment to the Intelligence Reform Bill, the amendment you put forth with Joe Lieberman outlawing "extreme interrogation measures." It passed with 96 votes in the Senate and was cut in conference committee, with the advice of the Bush adminstration involved. These fuckers don't care about your pain, your torture. They only believe in power, like every torturing nation in history.

You know that the Geneva Convention is a golden rule agreement: do unto others as blah, blah, blah. So by voting for Gonzales, you and anyone else will be saying that it's okay for others to waterboard American soldiers, tying them to a board and plunging their heads under until they "think" they're going to drown. You'll say it's okay for American POWs to have wet towels wrapped around their heads so that they begin to suffocate. And you'll be saying, really, truly, that America, this country, which you represent, believes it's just fine that American soldiers may be placed into solitary confinement for years, questioned by using violence and threats of violence, forced to stand until their muscles tear.

All those nightmare things that happened to you, you poor bastard, all those aches that you feel on humid days, whenever you walk to a podium to speak. Vote yes on Gonzales, Senator McCain, and no one should give a shit about your story and your pain ever again.