The Corner

Santorum vs. McCain

Speaking of Hugh Hewitt, Senator Santorum participated in the following exchange on the HH radio show: 

HH: Now did the bin Laden killing cause you to hope that the enhanced interrogation debate returns center stage about whether or not, and when such techniques ought to be used?

RS: Well, not only that, but the first thing that should happen, Hugh, was that the President of the United States should have stepped forward and said we are going to stop this, well, potential prosecution of those within the intelligence community who were involved in the enhanced interrogation program. That should have been step one, going to Eric Holder and saying enough is enough, we’re not doing this anymore. We need to give these guys medals, not prosecute them. Number two, he should have stepped forward and said look, I was wrong, the enhanced interrogation program did work, it did produce my greatest foreign policy success. And I’m going to admit when I was wrong, and we’re going to look at how we’re going to redeploy this under obviously different rules and regulations, since of course the Obama administration told the enemy what we were doing in the previous enhanced interrogation programs.

HH: Now your former colleague, John McCain, said look, there’s no record, there’s no evidence here that these methods actually led to the capture or the killing of bin Laden. Do you disagree with that? Or do you think he’s got an argument?

RS: I don’t, everything I’ve read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation. And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that’s how we ended up with bin Laden. That seems to be clear from all the information I read. Maybe McCain has better information than I do, but from what I’ve seen, it seems pretty clear that but for these cooperative witnesses who were cooperative as a result of enhanced interrogations, we would not have gotten bin Laden.

That, as you might expect, is rapidly being ridiculed — particularly “he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.” But it was not out of disrespect for Senator McCain, a former prisoner of war, and his military service that Santorum made the remarks — it was a national-security-policy argument Santorum was making. And Andy McCarthy makes it here.

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