It is very concerning to me that the Romney campaign wants to make waterboarding legal, and it should scare you too. There is a simple reason why Romney has publicly come out in favor of torture (which he refers to as “enhanced interrogation techniques”) … most of his foreign policy team worked under George W. Bush. These neo-cons supported torture under President Bush and they’re recommending to Governor Romney that we need to bring torture back into the fold. In short – he wants to go back to the good ol’ days of Bush foreign policy because it worked so well </sarcasm>.
A simple question. Would those who advocate for these “enhanced interrogation techniques” like Mitt Romney find these techniques acceptable for foreign governments to utilize on American soldiers and captives? That question leads to other questions. Is Mitt Romney ok with American troops being waterboarded? If he isn’t – then why? And if so … why is ok for the U.S. to water board but not other countries?
If you want to understand what American style torture looks like – you really need to read this HERE; it is an embarrassment to our country and will put our troops in danger if they are ever captured.
A few things to consider:
The NY Times writes HERE:
By contrast, Mr. Romney’s advisers have privately urged him to “rescind and replace President Obama’s executive order” and permit secret “enhanced interrogation techniques against high-value detainees that are safe, legal and effective in generating intelligence to save American lives,” according to an internal Romney campaign memorandum.
While the memo is a policy proposal drafted by Mr. Romney’s advisers in September 2011, and not a final decision by him, its detailed analysis dovetails with his rare and limited public comments about interrogation.
“We’ll use enhanced interrogation techniques which go beyond those that are in the military handbook right now,” he said at a news conference in Charleston, S.C., in December.
The campaign policy paper does not specify which techniques Mr. Romney should approve, saying more study was needed because Mr. Obama had “permanently damaged” the value of some by releasing memorandums detailing Bush-era techniques in April 2009.
Slate explains how the majority of Romney’s foreign policy team comes from George W. Bush’s foreign policy team HERE:
Republicans lost their popularity on security issues for one reason: George W. Bush’s foreign policy was a disaster. And yet, the party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, has assembled a foreign-policy team composed almost exclusively of individuals with the same war-always mentality and ideology that served Bush — and the United States — so poorly. In some cases, the exact same men responsible for Bush’s catastrophic national security policies are advising Romney. The former Massachusetts governor could have included some of the pragmatists and realists from the George H.W. Bush administration. Instead, a Romney presidency seems like it would be Bush 43 all over again.
All told, Romney lists 37 holdovers from the George W. Bush administration — the very same administration he and all other Republican candidates barely referenced during their many debates because it was so discredited and toxic, even to the Republican base.
This is Romney in the 2008 Presidential campaign. He hides behind this notion that he shouldn’t have to explain whether or not waterboarding was torture; he wouldn’t even answer the question. McCain eats his lunch while Romney grins like a Cheshire cat.
Article 3 of the Geneva Convention says in full HERE:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ‘ hors de combat ‘ by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict. The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention. The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
Here is President Obama’s response to the waterboarding issue:
But worse than all of that … it appears that Americans are more supportive of using torture and “enhanced interrogation techniques” than ever before. Amy Zegart at Foreign Policy commissioned a poll on the issue … she writes HERE:
Consider this: In an October 2007 Rasmussen poll, 27 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should torture prisoners captured in the fight against terrorism, while 53 percent said it should not. In my YouGov poll, 41 percent said they would be willing to use torture — a gain of 14 points — while 34 percent would not, a decline of 19 points.
Sure, the devil is in the details. Poll responses are highly susceptible to question wording. So I had the pollsters ask some of the exact same questions in the exact same way that appeared in a January 2005 USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, the most detailed pre-Obama poll on interrogation techniques that I could find. It turns out that Americans don’t just like the general idea of torture more now. They like specific torture techniques more too.
Respondents in 2012 are more pro-waterboarding, pro-threatening prisoners with dogs, pro-religious humiliation, and pro-forcing-prisoners-to-remain-naked-and-chained-in-uncomfortable-positions-in-cold-rooms. In 2005, 18 percent said they believed the naked chaining approach was OK, while 79 percent thought it was wrong. In 2012, 30 percent of Americans thought this technique was right, an increase of 12 points, while just 51 percent thought it was wrong, a drop of 28 points. In 2005, only 16 percent approved of waterboarding suspected terrorists, while an overwhelming majority (82 percent) thought it was wrong to strap people on boards and force their heads underwater to simulate drowning. Now, 25 percent of Americans believe in waterboarding terrorists, and only 55 percent think it’s wrong. The only specific interrogation technique that is less popular now than in 2005, strangely enough, is prolonged sleep deprivation.
The pictures below were referred to in a military report as “setting the physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses.” That’s directly from a report which we’ve shared HERE. This is what George W. Bush allowed to happen under his watch; this is what Romney and his advisers are advocating for. See if you think this is what you want to represent America and if you think it would be considered legal under the Geneva Convention.
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