Thursday, November 17, 2011

Romney Joins The Pro-Torture Candidates

During last Saturday’s Republican candidates’ debate, Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann denied that waterboarding is torture and said that they would approve its use, eliciting applause from the audience. Only two candidates, Rep. Ron Paul and former Gov. John Huntsman, said that they would oppose it.

It is clearly disturbing that the majority of Republican candidates either explicitly stated that they would back waterboarding or remained silent. Waterboarding is torture, and as such, it undermines our moral standards and reputation, is unreliable as a method of interrogation and endangers our own troops. The candidate most likely to be the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, had no comments on waterboarding during the debate–and then hid behind a spokeswoman to join Cain and Bachmann in endorsing "enhanced interrogation techniques." Romney, whose core principle is to get elected, clearly showed that he is not fit to be commander-in-chief. The New York Times took Romney to task on the issue in an editorial, “The Torture Candidates”:

...On Saturday night, Mr. Romney said nothing about waterboarding. If you thought that was because he might be against it, you’d be wrong. It was just pure cowardice.

On Monday, a campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said he, too, did not believe waterboarding is torture and that he would not specify the “enhanced interrogation techniques” he would use against terrorists. That means he will not rule out using it. It also means he either does not know or does not care that waterboarding is banned by the United States Army Field Manual, and it means he chooses to ignore the testimony of top military officers like Gen. David Petraeus (who now runs the C.I.A.) that such forms of torture are not only useless for gathering reliable intelligence but are detrimental to the security of American forces and the nation’s reputation.

...[Romney's] refusal to renounce waterboarding is disturbing. There are few issues that more clearly define a candidate’s national security policy in the 21st century than a position on torture. A few candidates will fight terrorism using the rule of law, honoring the nation’s moral standards to encourage other countries to do the same. Others will defend the United States by promising to extract information from captives using pain and simulating death, degrading the nation’s reputation. That group now includes Mr. Cain, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Romney.


Michael The Molar Maven said...

I'd like to know if the gathering of information (mauch of it inaccurate) is worth the sacrificing of our principles? Do the ends, indeed, justify the means? In all cases? In some cases? Never?

Jeff Tone said...

Not only should we not betray our principles and ultimately endanger our troops, but the information gathered is highly dubious. It's clear that someone being tortured will blurt out whatever the torturer wants to hear in order to make the pain stop.