Republicans on Torture

Here are some excerpts from the latest republican debate, where the candidates talk about the use of torture in interrogating suspected terrorists:

Senator McCain:

The use of torture — we could never gain as much we would gain from that torture as we lose in world opinion. We do not torture people.

When I was in Vietnam, one of the things that sustained us, as we went — underwent torture ourselves, is the knowledge that if we had our positions reversed and we were the captors, we would not impose that kind of treatment on them.

It’s not about the terrorists, it’s about us. It’s about what kind of country we are. And a fact: The more physical pain you inflict on someone, the more they’re going to tell you what they think you want to know.

McCain is clearly very against torture, which is mad props in my book.

Rudy Guiliani, on the other hand..

MR. GIULIANI: In the hypothetical that you gave me, which assumes that we know there’s going to be another attack and these people know about it, I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of. It shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of —

MR. HUME: Water-boarding?

MR. GIULIANI: — and I would — and I would — well, I’d say every method they could think of, and I would support them in doing that because I’ve seen what — (interrupted by applause) — I’ve seen what can happen when you make a mistake about this, and I don’t want to see another 3,000 people dead in New York or any place else.

Scary. The perceived “threat” of terrorism is really overblown. You are many orders of magnitude more likely to die in a car accident than by terrorism (there were 42,636 car-accident related deaths in 2005 alone).

Would we torture people to reduce auto accidents if we could?

Mitt Romney:

Now we’re going to — you said the person’s going to be in Guantanamo. I’m glad they’re at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons. I want them there.

Some people have said, we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo. We ought to make sure that the terrorists — (applause) — and there’s no question but that in a setting like that where you have a ticking bomb that the president of the United States — not the CIA interrogator, the president of the United States — has to make the call. And enhanced interrogation techniques have to be used — not torture but enhanced interrogation techniques, yes. [emphasis mine]

Wow, this guy is super terrifying. Are we ready for another 4 years of blatant 1984-style propaganda techniques? Exactly what is the difference between enhanced interrogation techniques and torture?

More Mccain:

MR. HUME: I’m going to come to the others in a moment, but I want to circle back to you, Senator McCain. You’ve heard reference here from me and others of the — what the administration calls the enhanced interrogation techniques. I may have misunderstood you, but it sounded to me as if you regard those techniques, or from what you know about them, as torture. Do you?

SEN. MCCAIN: Yes, and the interesting thing about that aspect is that during the debate, when we had the detainee treatment act, there was a sharp division between those who had served in the military and those who hadn’t. Virtually every senior officer, retired or active- duty, starting with Colin Powell, General Vessey and everyone else, agreed with my position that we should not torture people.

Ron Paul:

But you know, I think it’s interesting talking about torture here in that it’s become enhanced interrogation technique. It sounds like Newspeak.

Ha, exactly.

My torture scorecard:
McCain: +5
Paul: +3
Guiliani: -3
Romney: -5

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