(To read the rest of our coverage on the 2016 Presidential primaries, please click here.)
Six months ago, you could have predicted Republicans would say some crazy things about foreign policy and our military. Loosening ROE? Pretty predictable. Obama is weak! Yeah, not true but kind of predictable. We need more military spending? Of course they would say that. (More on all three topics this week and next.)
And also waterboarding.
Sure, you could have predicted that Republicans (outside of John McCain) would have defended this so-abhorrent-even-the Nazis-initially-forbid-it practice. They’ve been defending torture ever since Dick Cheney and the CIA started doing it after 9/11.
But I’m not sure anyone would have predicted that Republicans would argue waterboarding didn’t go far enough at the eighth Republican debate:
“I would bring back waterboarding and I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding. “ - Donald Trump
“And so, if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that as commander in chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe." - Ted Cruz
So, in other words, anything is on the table. (When asked, Jeb Bush and Rubio dodged.) There’s no need to rehash this issue, since we’ve written about it so much in the past. So here’s a quick recap of why torture is wrong, morally and ethically, and some links:
1. Torture isn’t effective.
Practically, as The Atlantic sums up the Senate’s report on torture, torture doesn’t provide good intel:
“Despite their use against at least 39 detainees, there’s still no evidence that “enhanced interrogation” methods produced information useful to stopping terror attacks, while there’s plenty of evidence that those subject to torture produced false information in the hopes of ending their ordeals.”
Basically, you’ll say anything to not be tortured.
2. Torture will get Americans killed.
Trump argued that since ISIS beheads people, we have to torture them in response. If ISIS’s shocking actions anger him so much, wouldn’t our shocking actions anger extremists? Wouldn’t it inspire terrorists?
3. Our best quote ever on torture.
Which completely debunks Ted Cruz’ nightmare scenario above:
“Would the CIA have tortured Richard Jewell to find the locations of more bombs? Would Jewell have confessed if waterboarded? Would they have just killed him to stop him from attacking again?”
4. Check out past On V posts on torture.
For whatever reason, the only times we’ve written about torture on the blog are when we’re writing about movies, like The Battle for Algiers (twice), Inglorious Basterds, Zero Dark Thirty (before the release of the Senate Torture report and called it!) and Homeland.
5. Torture is immoral.
Even if torture were effective, it doesn’t matter. It’s immoral.
And really, that’s all that matters.