John McCain: Torture Worked on Me
John McCain is leading the charge against so-called 'torture' techniques used by U.S. interrogators, insisting that practices are not only brutal but they simply don't work to persuade terrorist suspects to give accurate information.
Nearly forty years ago, however, when McCain was held captive in a North Vietnamese prison camp, some of the same techniques were used on him. And, as McCain has publicly admitted, at least twice the torture worked!
"I thought they were bluffing and refused to provide any information beyond my name, rank and serial number, and date of birth. They knocked me around a little to force my cooperation."
The punishment finally worked, McCain said. "Eventually, I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant."
Recalling how he gave up military information to his interrogators, McCain said: "I regret very much having done so."
That episode wasn't the only instance when McCain broke under physical pressure.
He described the days Hanoi Hilton guards beat him. "For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards . . . Finally, I reached the lowest point of my 5 1/2 years in North Vietnam. I was at the point of suicide, because I saw that I was reaching the end of my rope."
McCain was taken to an interrogation room and ordered to sign a document confessing to war crimes. "I signed it," he recalled. "It was in their language, and spoke about black crimes, and other generalities."
"I had learned what we all learned over there," McCain said. "Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine."