Fox News military analyst says torture is effective because it worked on 'Songbird' John McCain

  • Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney appeared on Fox Business on Thursday and defended the use of torture by claiming it worked on Sen. John McCain when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
  • McCain is one of the most respected members of Congress, particularly for his military record, and there’s no evidence he gave any valuable information to his captors during the Vietnam War.
  • McCain’s experiences during the war are broadly seen as a large part of the reason he has opposed President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, who has refused to denounce torture as immoral.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney appeared on Fox Business on Thursday and defended the use of torture by claiming it worked on Sen. John McCain when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam War.

McCain’s experiences during the war are broadly seen as a large part of the reason he has opposed President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, who has refused to denounce torture as immoral.

When asked about McCain’s position on this issue by Fox Business host Charles Payne, McInerney said, “The fact is, is John McCain – [torture] worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'”

“The fact is those methods can work, and they are effective, as former Vice President Cheney said. And if we have to use them to save a million American lives, we will do whatever we have to,” McInerney, who has worked as a paid military analyst for Fox News, added.

On Thursday afternoon, Payne issued an apology to McCain, stating that as a “proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet,” McInerney’s words did not “reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country.”

Payne described McInerney’s comments on McCain as “false and derogatory.”

McCain is one of the most respected members of Congress, particularly for his military record, and there’s no evidence he gave up any valuable information to his captors during the Vietnam War.

It is true that after being tortured, McCain signed a confession that labelled him a “black criminal” and an “air pirate,” which is something the Arizona senator has expressed shame over, but he is still widely viewed as a hero for his conduct while held captive for half a decade in a North Vietnamese prison.

One year after his bomber was shot down and he was captured, McCain’s captors offered to allow him to go free. This allegedly occurred because McCain’s father had just been made commander of US forces in the Pacific. But McCain refused to agree to this given there were other American prisoners who’d been there longer than him. This enraged his captors and McCain was tortured and thrown into solitary confinement for over two years for defying them.

Not only was McInerney’s claims about McCain’s record erroneous – his statement that torture works is also questionable.

An extensive report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) post-9/11 concluded such methods were “not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation.”

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.