n. A false statement that keeps getting repeated no matter how often it has been refuted.
Another GOP presidential debate, another opportunity for the debate audience to disgrace their own political party. This time they cheered for torture. Just to be clear, torture is not an interrogation technique. The objective of intelligence interrogation is to discover valuable information. The purpose of torture is to extract false confessions, which is what the Bush administration used it for. There isn’t even one documented example of an al-Qaeda detainee giving correct information as a result of being tortured.
From Crooks & Liars:
The audience at Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate erupted into applause at the mention of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that is often described as torture.
The National Journal’s Major Garrett asked Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to respond to a Vietnam veteran who said he believed torture was wrong in all cases.
Cain agreed that torture was wrong, but said he would defer to the military as to what techniques constituted torture.
“Mr. Cain, of course you are familiar with the long-running debate we’ve had about whether waterboarding constitutes torture or is an enhanced interrogation technique,” Garrett noted. “In the last campaign, Republican nominee John McCain and Barack Obama agreed that it was torture and should not be allowed legally.”
“I don’t see it as torture. I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique,” Cain replied as the audience expressed approval.
Garrett then turned to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann for her response.
“If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding,” she explained as the crowd cheered wildly. “It was very effective. It gained information for our country.”
But two of the candidates actually agreed with the veteran who said waterboarding should not be used under any circumstance. Both Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said waterboarding amounted to torture.
Remember that it is a Constitutional responsibility for President of the United States to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Torture is prohibited by federal criminal statute and by international treaty. In fact, the United Nations Convention Against Torture mandates investigation of any torture allegations — which means the Obama administration is breaking the law by not prosecuting torture that occurred during the Bush administration.
UPDATE: Herman Cain’s position on torture is self-contradictory. He claims that waterboarding is not torture, but also says he would abide by the determination of the military. Field Manual 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations, classifies waterboarding as a prohibited technique that is torture.