Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) agrees with the Bush Administration’s imposition of new, strict sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is involved deeply in global terrorism and supporting the insurgent forces in Iraq, as he said in a conference call with bloggers Thursday.
McCain said the US should proceed with sanctions but encourage like-minded nations to engage as well. “We could have a significant impact on the Iranians if other European countries…who share our views and values, vote for this too,” he said.
The senator said he recognized the Russians would pose a problem that we would “have to go around” but encouraged President Bush to speak with Europeans who would enact the same kinds of sanctions. McCain recognized the recent cooperation of France in the struggle against state sponsors of terrorism.
During the call, McCain remarked on several hot issues, including climate change, which he says is a problem and the Bush Administration will, “not be judged well by history for failing to enact market based capitalist incentive for the reduction of greenhouse gases…”
McCain, who traveled from New Hampshire to vote, applauded yesterday’s confirmation of Judge Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He denounced the Democrats for attempting to bar Southwick on the basis of “appearing to have the intention of intolerance.”
On the slowed judicial nomination process, McCain said the Democrats are waiting for Hillary Clinton’s reign before trying again. He praised Southwick, an Iraq war veteran who joined the military at age 43, as an “honest, decent man” who was put through an excruciating process by Congress for a low-paying job.
“How many qualified people do you think are going to say…do you think I’m crazy?” Asked McCain of those who might endure similar criticism when vying for a bench seat. “I want to assure you that my appointments will be people who strictly interpret the Constitution…”
McCain, who lost most conservatives when he supported the president’s immigration reform proposals, confirmed that he did not support the DREAM Act, which was stopped in the Senate Wednesday by a vote of 52-44. The DREAM Act would provide amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who came to America when under the age of 16. It would also
give green cards to illegal aliens residing in America for five years and attending college or performing military service.
“I got the message and the American people want the borders controlled first,” he said, adding that once that was accomplished, he would take steps to implement comprehensive immigration reform including paths to citizenship.
McCain took up another controversial issue: torture. McCain, a former POW in North Vietnam for 5 ½ years, has suffered opposition for his position that torture is not acceptable on captured foreign enemies in any circumstance.
Recently, Rudy Giuliani said he didn’t believe water boarding (a procedure which creates the feeling of drowning) was torture but McCain claimed that it is, concluding Giuliani’s lack of personal experience with torture deems him unfit to make this judgment.
McCain said torture was a matter of “moral high ground” and that, with rare exception, every retired military and active duty — including Gen. Colin Powell — are actively opposed to water boarding because they consider it torture.
“They feel that way not because of their love of any terrorist but because of what would happen to any American serviceman or woman if they fell captive to our enemy,” he said. “If we torture people in our custody, I don’t think it advances our image or ability to prevail…”
Reports of lowered casualties and decreased violence in Iraq fueled McCain’s enthusiasm for success in America’s endeavor there. He said he hopes the media will report the facts accurately and that Democrats like Harry Reid — who once declared the war “lost” — will pay attention.
“I cannot tell you the joy that I feel that these young Americans are succeeding,” McCain said. “I pray every night we will have more effective political consensus and effective Maliki government.”