McCain on Cheney’s torture speech: ‘I just don’t see where it helps.’

Vice President Cheney’s speech on national security yesterday has been received positively by several Republican senators. In an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg yesterday, however, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that Cheney’s full-throated defense of torture isn’t helpful:

He told me of his fundamental disagreement with Cheney: “When you have a majority of Americans, seventy-something percent, saying we shouldn’t torture, then I’m not sure it helps for the Vice President to go out and continue to espouse that position,” he said. “But look, he’s free to talk. He’s a former Vice President of the United States. I just don’t see where it helps.”

And then he got acerbic: Cheney, he says, “believes that waterboarding doesn’t fall under the Geneva Conventions and that it’s not a form of torture. But you know, it goes back to the Spanish Inquisition.”

Yesterday on Fox News, McCain reiterated that waterboarding is “not a new technique, and it is certainly torture.” “You hear it from al Qaeda operatives that when we torture people and it becomes public, then it helps them recruit,” he said. Watch it: