Taking A Prisoner's Word

In this Monday, March 15, 2004 picture from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Kline Cash looks over the buds on peach trees at Cash Farms in Cherokee County. Cash was killed on June 27, 2009 at his home in Cherokee County, S.C. Investigators are looking for a serial killer believed to have shot four people, including Cash, to death. (AP Photo/The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Tim Kimzeya)
AP Photo/Tim Kimzeya
This column was written by CBS Evening News Anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.
I don't always agree with him, but when John McCain talks about prisoners of war and torture I do pay attention. As someone who was tortured for five years in a North Vietnamese prison, he just knows a little more about torture than the rest of us.

So when John McCain told me the other day that he would not want to be the next
American taken prisoner in Iraq, I listened. McCain, along with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, is sponsoring legislation to outlaw, quote, "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment of all prisoners held by the United States.

Incredibly, the administration is trying to kill this legislation, claiming it would hamper the fight against terrorism or some such.

Here is my question: Does that mean we endorse torture? Of course not. But what will the other side make of those words?

John McCain has no more sympathy for the terrorists than I do. He is worried about our soldiers. He knows that if the enemy believes we are torturing their people, they will be more likely to torture our people.

John McCain has never been a favorite of this administration but they should pay attention to him on this one. He was learning about torture while some of them were still in graduate school.

The gallant young men and women we are asking to fight this war are already paying a terrible price. Let's not make it even more dangerous for them. Listen to John McCain.
By Bob Schieffer