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Charlie Savage claims the New York Times has obtained a five page, near final draft, policy document entitled "interrogation Techniques," which recommends that Mitt Romney rescind President Obama's Executive Order restricting U.S. interrogators to non-abusive techniques described in the Army Field Manual, according to his article Election May Decide When Interrogation Amounts to Torture.

In one of his first acts, President Obama issued an executive order restricting interrogators to a list of nonabusive tactics approved in the Army Field Manual. ... 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. ... “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.
In 2006, after the Supreme Court upheld the Geneva Convention's ban on torture, members of the Bush Administration, including Steven Bradbury, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, decided  to re-approve "borderline" techniques such as "sleep deprivation, withholding solid food, slapping and head grabbing," and redefined terrorists as enemy combatants rather than prisoners of war.

Controversy still exists on whether "water-boarding" constitutes torture.  President Obama believes it is, and has banned it, former V.P. Dick Cheney believe it is not. Mitt Romney will not say exactly what he considers to be torture or not. Romney claims his lack of specifity is in order to keep terrorists from knowing what our policies are, but I see Romney as lacking the courage, and detailed knowledge necessary to make a decisive judgement.    

This long important article provides an excellent history and overview of the debate over what constitutes torture, and what U.S. policy is and should be from various points of view. And, we also see a stark contrast in the leadership styles of our two presidential cadidates.

Note the degree of specifics our President is willing to articulate versus the vaque mish-mash of double-speak typical of Governor Romney from just these two quotes:

“Waterboarding is torture,” Mr. Obama said in November. “It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice. If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example.”

Clear, specific, and too the point. By contrast:

Mr. Romney has consistently opposed ruling out interrogation techniques. At a debate in 2007, he sparred with Senator McCain over whether the United States should renounce waterboarding. And last year, in response to a survey on executive power, he said he opposed “torture” but criticized Mr. Obama’s approach.

“I support the use of appropriate and necessary interrogation techniques to obtain information from high-value terrorists who possess knowledge critical to our national defense,” Mr. Romney said. “I do not believe it is wise for our country to reveal all of the precise interrogation methods we may authorize for use against captured terrorists, and I strongly condemn the actions taken by President Obama to do so.”

Once again, please notice the contrast between a bold and decisive leader willing to take a stand, and a mushy political opportunist who likes to talk tough, but refuses to be specific enough for us to know what he really believes.

Imagine also, for a moment, you are a U.S. military or intelligence officer, in the field, who needs to decide exactly what is, or is not U.S. policy, and you can go to jail for war crimes if you make an error, and you stand on the slippery slope.  Who would you rather have as your commander-in-chief?

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Comment Preferences

  •  If Mitt Romney wins, it will certainly (7+ / 0-)

    feel like four years of torture to me.

    •  Agreed, doc2. What a frightening nightmare to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga, 207wickedgood

      imagine.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:05:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I survived 8 long years of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, ColoTim, 207wickedgood

        Bush and Cheney, so I probably could survive Mitt Romney as well. But it would indeed be a form of torture to all of us who consider ourselves thinking progressives. And in addition to the pain of having to live under a right-wing government, we'd see the progressive legacy of Obama ripped apart, and the ACA dismantled.

        •  Well, I seemed to have survived the 8 year (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, eXtina

          Bush-Cheney nightmare as well, but it seems to have damaged my soul.

          Friedrich Nietzche is reported to have said "whatever doesn't kill you leaves you stronger," but I think he may have been mistaken about this.

          Sometimes, what doesn't kill us right away seems to slowly grind us down until some, otherwise, small think can bump us off later.

          I think Bush-Cheney has damaged the soul of our nation as well.  

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:33:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think we've found (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, HoundDog, eXtina, Joieau

    a new method of torture with the advent of Mitt Romney in the race.  At perfectly normal decibel levels for conversation, we'll have Mitt's rendition of America the Beautiful play for ten minutes a day.   People will be screaming, willing to do anything,  by the third day.

    Seriously, with that bunch of neocon retreads he has for advisors, what else could we expect.   They are just hateful people and Mitt Romney is weak enough to do anything if it let's him be president.

    •  You've invented an even worse torture. Prisoners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga

      will be forced to listen to Mitt Romney's policy speeches, and then tested on what he believes.  If they get it wrong they will get electric shocks.

      Does Romney believe Americans should have access to health care?  Yes/No?  Sjjjerrrkkkk!  They get zapped either way.

      Does Romney want to protect Medicare for future generations?

      SssshhjjjerrrrkW!

      Lord, please forgive me for even imagining this. I'm sure it would be considered a violation of Geneva Conventions just forcing prisoners to listen to his speeches, even without the test and punishment.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:20:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not surprising in the least (5+ / 0-)

    Remember, John Bolton is his foreign policy adviser, and he's got a bunch of other Bushies on his foreign policy and national security team.

    Romney-Ryan: America's Rollback Team

    by Christian Dem in NC on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:14:35 PM PDT

  •  Waterboarding is a criminal act. The fact that... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Calfacon, filkertom, PeterHug

    it hasn't been treated as such is the reason Mr Romney's advisors feel so comfortable suggesting its reintroduction. An old discarded executive order will be meaningless to our next round of torture victims.

  •  At this point they are doing it to convince... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    ...themselves that there's some point to hanging around Romney.  Let's bring back torture!  Let's draft our ultimatum to Iran!  Let's divvy up the gold in Fort Knox to our frat buddies!  It's all meaningless because Romney will not be President.

    Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:28:25 PM PDT

    •  Let's hope not Rich in PA. Just in case he starts (0+ / 0-)

      making a comeback, I've been working up some now memes.

      Here's one I created last week, and am waiting for some intemperate Romney remark on foreign policy, to release.

      Photobucket

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:37:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no such thing as (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2020adam, HoundDog, Garrett, Calfacon, PeterHug
    “enhanced interrogation techniques against high-value detainees that are safe, legal and effective in generating intelligence to save American lives,”
    A guest on the daily show said that torture falls into the realm of the lazy, the stupid and the pseudo tough.  The only thing torture is good for is compliance, they will talk and what you get is stuff like the list Powell took to the UN.  All false and made up so the torture would stop, the result of illegal rendition to other countries before Bush started his own torture program.  Plus the simple fact that anyone participating in or complicit to torture is a war criminal.  War crimes have no statute of limitations.  Thus the only safe places for our war criminals to travel overseas are Isreal and Saudi Arabia.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:33:47 PM PDT

  •  About the field manual and interrogation standards (0+ / 0-)

    The main body of the Field Manual is about the interrogation of prisoners of war. We have no prisoners of war now, as we classify them. The main body of the manual just isn't relevant to how we currently operate.

    Appendix M of the Field Manual is enhanced interrogation techniques. No way could those techniques be used on prisoners of war. No way could those techniques meet Geneva standards. The Bush Administration legal opinion giving approval of Appendix M was explicitly based on the interrogation being outside Geneva.

    The Field Manual as the claimed interrogation standard long preceded the January 22, 2009 Executive Order.

    "Restricting torture" would be true of current standards. But only in a very literalist sense, that we torture, but have restrictions on it. But, then, this was always true. We've never had completely unrestricted torture as a proclaimed standard.  

    •  When Reagan signed the UN anti Torture (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ConfusedSkyes, PeterHug

      Convention, his administration stressed the need to treat terrorists as criminals and not declare war on them which would make them warriors not criminals.  He also expressed the hope that the all too common practice of torture would be abolished forever.  I don't agree with Reagan on much but he had torture right.

      Where would we be if Bush had united the world against the terrorists since people from 84 countries were killed in the towers, rather that the all too stupid course he took,

      Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

      by J Edward on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 04:25:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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