Really, really scary

HUME: Mayor Giuliani, the former director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, the current head of the CIA have both said that the most valuable intelligence tool they have had has been information gained from what are called enhanced interrogation techniques, to include, presumably, waterboarding.

What is your view on whether such techniques should be applied in a scenario like the one I described?

GIULIANI: In the hypothetical that you gave me, which assumes that we know that 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. Shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of. And I would…

HUME: Waterboarding?

GIULIANI: Well, I’d say every method they could think of.

ROMNEY: …you said the person is going to be in Guantanamo. I’m glad they’re at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them in 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 the 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.

BROWNBACK: … Is your primary concern U.S. lives or is it how you’re going to be perceived in the world? And my standards is: U.S. lives. And I’m going to do everything within my power to protect U.S. lives, period. I will do it. I’ll move aggressively forward on it. If we have to later ask and say, “Well, it shouldn’t quite have been done this way or that way,” that’s the way it is.

HUNTER: Let me just say, this would take a one-minute conversation with the secretary of defense. (LAUGHTER) I would call him up or call him in, I would say to SecDef, in terms of getting information that would save American lives even if it involves very high-pressure techniques, one sentence: Get the information.

RON PAUL: I think it’s interesting talking about torture here — become an enhanced interrogation technique. It sounds like new speak…

TANCREDO: Well, let me just say that it’s almost unbelievable to listen to this in a way. We’re talking about — we’re talking about it in such a theoretical fashion. You say that nuclear devices have gone off in the United States, more are planned, and we’re wondering about whether waterboarding would be a bad thing to do. I’m looking for Jack Bauer at that time, let me tell you.


13 thoughts on “Really, really scary

    1. Ha! He’s one of the Republican presidential candidates. Also a congressman from Texas. I believe these are from last night’s debate, but I haven’t found a transcript yet (and didn’t listen to it in realtime).


  1. What is the “scenario that I described” in the first line? Is it the old “ticking bomb” scenario where there’s a nuke about to go off in some major city and kill a bazillion people and you have one guy that you’re sure can tell you where it is and how to defuse it? That’s what it sounds like Tancredo is describing — a bunch of nukes have gone off and you’re trying to prevent more. That one tends to get people to agree to just about anything.


    1. See above; Achenbach doesn’t quote the description of the “scenario” but it does sound like the “ticking bomb” scenario.


    2. The scenario is this: “The questions in this round will be premised on a fictional, but we think plausible scenario involving terrorism and the response to it. Here is the premise: Three shopping centers near major U.S. cities have been hit by suicide bombers. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured. A fourth attack has been averted when the attackers were captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they are being questioned. U.S. intelligence believes that another larger attack is planned and could come at any time.”


    3. This is what McCain said:

      If I knew for sure that they had that kind of information, I, as the president of the United States, would take that responsibility. That is a million-to-one scenario. But only I would take that responsibility. 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. It’s about us as a nation. We have procedures for interrogation in the Army Field Manual. Those, I think, would be adequate in 999,999 of cases, and I think that if we agree to torture people, we will do ourselves great harm in the world.


      1. McCain also said explictly that he regards “enhanced interrogation techniques” as torture, and Paul implied the same with his comment quoted above. The rest did not have the integrity to point out the straw man nature of the scenario, its great implausibility, and its irrelevance to what is going on now in Iraq and Guantanamo and who knows where else. No, they were quite content to take that straw man and run with it, implying without having to say it that they’d happily torture anyone if they thought they were even thinking about attacking Americans.


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