Crooks& Liars has some interesting clips from last nights Republican debates. In the clip linked above, McCain, Giuliani and Romney respond to a hypothetical regarding a series of attacks on major shopping centers. One groups of attackers is captured and taken to Guantanamo. The presidential contenders are asked if "enhanced interrogation" techniques should be used.
Of the three, McCain is the only one that speaks from both experience and common sense. He understands that torture doesn't work. Those being so interrogated will tell you what they think you want to hear to stop the abuse. Giuliani clings to his status as the mayor of 9/11 and sticks with the euphemism of enhanced interrogation. As president he would authorize and support said techniques, including water boarding. Romney, who is clearly a lunatic, applauds the idea of an American extra-national prison where human rights can be ignored. None of those silly legal protections, hell, no access to lawyers or any sort of due process and while we're at it, double the size of Guantanamo. That draws a big round of applause from the Republican audience.
Fear and vengeance don't make for sound foreign policy. Much as I think McCain is a jibbering fool on most issues, he is very right when he insists that torture doesn't work and that intelligence gathered through torture is of minimal value. But these men are all vying for the support of their party to run for president of the United States. What none of them even consider is that in any conflict, intelligence is a vital commodity. Any organization that can infiltrate and enact attacks on a large scale within America will have done its homework and will have done so with great discipline. Quite simply, these are not cartoon villains. Given the scenario of a number of successful attacks, one group of attackers captured and another on the ground with an attack pending, the captured group will have no valid intelligence on the remaining bombers. Simple operational tactics would make the use of torture an empty exercise in cruelty.
In such a case, torture is of no use in preventing that final pending assault. Only a fool would believe for an instant that any of the captured would have valid information regarding the operations of one or any of the other attacking groups. The villains are not unsophisticated and it is lunacy to pretend otherwise. Mr. Romney's bluster only goes to validate the craven fear that has been peddled by questioner Brit Hume and the rabid hawkishness of the right wing media. It further diminishes the soul of America and drives another nail into the corpse of liberty and justice. The boom of applause following his remarks is a sad indictment of how far far America has fallen from the ideas and ideals that once made her great.