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Thank Goodness for John McCain

I don't agree with him on everything, to be sure, but John McCain has always struck me as the rarest of politicians: one who forms his own opinions, says what's on his mind, and tells the truth as he sees it.

Senator McCain, along with two colleagues, has weighed in on the Guantánamo controversy:

After visiting the military's detention center for some 660 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, three senators, including the onetime prisoner of war John McCain, sent a pointed letter on Friday telling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that it was time to release the detainees or bring them to trial.

Mr. McCain, who as a naval aviator spent more than five years held prisoner by North Vietnam, said in an interview that he believed the continued detention of the prisoners violated basic human rights precepts.

"They may not have any rights under the Geneva Conventions as far as I'm concerned," said the senator, an Arizona Republican, "but they have rights under various human rights declarations. And one of them is the right not to be detained indefinitely."

On the tour of Guantánamo, and in the letter to Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. McCain was joined by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another Republican, and Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington.

I disagree with Senator McCain's comments on the inapplicability of the Geneva Convention, but he sees the fundamental violation of human rights that Guantánamo represents, and that's the important thing.

War hero, distinguished Senate career, known as an honest man, smart as a whip... can someone explain to me once again how he lost the Republican nomination to George Bush in 2000?


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