Thursday, February 25, 2016

GOP Candidates Advocate Return to Waterboarding and Torture If Elected

GOP Candidates Love Torture (and yes, Waterboarding is torture)

A major update (follows this review) on the subject of torture, which has now entered smack dab in the middle of this presidential race in a big way.


Trump precisely said in a speech on February 19, 2016, just a few days before the SC primary, reiterating his support for waterboarding — a tactic many Republican candidates also have vowed to bring back. 

Trump stated his position and asked about that subject this way: “Is it torture or not? It’s so borderline. It’s like minimal, minimal, minimal torture.”

Further, Ted Cruz is not the only GOP candidate who believes that waterboarding isn’t torture, so does Marco Rubio. Here is Cruz’s claim – let’s take a look here UN Convention Against Torture, which BTW was ratified by the U.S. in 1990.

Here is this the actual definition: “Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession… when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public office or other person acting in an official capacity.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross and many others all contend that torture falls into the above definition without doubt.

Plus, Federal law (18 USC Section 2340) defines torture as something that is: “Specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering” — plus and the U.S. Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Former Army JAG, Major General Thomas Romig said: “There is no way any competent and knowledgeable attorney can say that waterboarding is legal under the Geneva Conventions, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or the Convention Against Torture.” (Wall Street Journal in 2014 interview).

Cruz was obviously referring to the controversial 2002 document known as the “Bybee Memo” written by Jay S Bybee, who as the time was the head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under President George W. Bush. At the time, that memo advised the CIA and DOD that techniques such as “waterboarding” might be legally allowed under an interpretation of the president’s authority during war time. The memo said the only pain equal to that produced by organ failure or death qualified as torture.  But it is worth noting that this definition has since been widely criticized and subsequently disavowed.

Jack Goldsmith, who served as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 to 2004 (under Bush), put a temporary halt to the use of waterboarding as a technique after he raised questions about this type of interrogation and the law.

Let’s be clear on this point: “Waterboarding is often described as a simulated drowning or a technique to convince the detainee or prisoner that he or she is drowning.”

There is no way to simulate drowning when the lungs fill with water without the water entering the lungs to start and complete actual drowning. It is by any definition torture, which I have said for years: Waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal, unlawful, and a war crime and has been decades.

The Update

Nineteen retired generals and admirals who support Hillary Clinton’s campaign have signed a blistering condemnation of Republican presidential candidates who support the use of interrogation tactics widely regarded as torture. 

The officers also scolded the GOP for opposing President Obama’s proposal to close the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay.

In a written statement, the Generals wrote: “The Republican candidates have turned this into a game to see who can seem toughest. Yet, how we combat our enemies and defeat ISIS is not a game, and these proposals would only make us weaker.”
  • On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has called with gusto for interrogating suspected terrorists with tactics widely regarded as torture, including but not limited to waterboarding.
  • Ted Cruz says waterboarding isn’t torture and has pushed for carpet-bombing cities held by the so-called Islamic State.
  • Marco Rubio has opposed legislation banning the use of torture.

In fact, all of the Republican presidential candidates oppose Obama’s plan to close the detention facility near Cuba’s southeastern tip.

In their statement the Generals call Guantánamo “one of the most powerful symbols for terrorist recruitment” adding that torture “abandons the principles that this country was founded on, compromises our position of leadership on the world stage, and puts our troops, front line civilians, and all Americans at risk.”

The Generals further said that Hillary Clinton “has consistently been on the right side of history on these issues both by supporting efforts to close the prison and by asserting that torture does not work and defies our nation’s values and interests.”

Those General Officers are 100% correct but watch the GOP try to make hay out of them supporting Hillary Clinton, even though in fact she is correct and the GOPers are flat out wrong … the Generals are on the right side of the issue and would I am sure support any candidate who shared their views on torture and closure of Gitmo. That is reality; not politics.

My best advice to anyone who holds the Trump, Cruz, and Rubio view that favors torture and waterboarding, please do me a huge favor and STFU. Thanks in advance.

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