In all the discussion of John McCain's recently recovered memory of a religious epiphany in Vietnam, one thing has been missing. The torture that was deployed against McCain emerges in all the various accounts. It involved sleep deprivation, the withholding of medical treatment, stress positions, long-time standing, and beating. Sound familiar?
According to the Bush administration's definition of torture, McCain was therefore not tortured.
I am not sure that I like this argument. It certainly has teeth but it has the same feel of the "Swift Boat" ads. Trivializing torture feels fundamentally wrong. However, Sullivan isn't so much questioning the suffering of McCain as he is pointing out the crazy situation the country has landed in.
Of course, this argument will be presented by the Right as proof of how fundamentally anti-American McCain's critics are. These same people who wore Purple Heart Band-Aids.
Really though, the best result would be for this question to spark a serious discussion. Perhaps this will help people stop and think "How did we get here?".