Is Ron Paul the only one that wants peace?
Peace is good.
During the most recent Republican debate, Paul was only awarded 89 seconds over the span of 90 minutes to voice his opinion on America’s foreign policy. In just that minute and a half, however, Congressman Paul had no problem separating himself from Romney, Cain, Perry, Bachmann and Gingrich by shutting down not just America’s ongoing wars, but the egregious practices that the US military employs on detained prisoners of war.
Both Bachmann and Cain used last week’s debate to voice their support for waterboarding detainees in order to drain them of intelligence. Paul, however, was quick to call out the practice as torture and condemn the country’s use of it during times of war.
"Anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. And that's not something we do — period," said the congressman.
Cain tried to distance himself from the topic of torture during the debate, arguing that he “would trust the judgment of our military leaders to determine what is torture and what is not torture." In his opinion, however, waterboarding was a legitimate practice and if it was up to him, the practice would be continued.
Could Cain lose the GOP nod, Americans might expect the White House to continue approving waterboarding as a legitimate technique. In an interview with conservative radio host Michael Savage in the days after the debate, Cain entertained the idea of serving the country as Secretary of Defense, “to help the generals and commanders on the ground to get what they need, to do what they do best, and that is kick the you-know-what out of everyone in the world.”
Elsewhere on the foreign policy front, Cain recently flubbed on the name of America’s powerful Asian ally Uzbekistan, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network, “And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know. Do you know?”
Aside from Paul and fellow hopeful Jon Huntsman, other candidates came in support of waterboarding. According to Paul, however, it is wrong on many levels.
“It's illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. And it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence. Why would you accept the position of torturing 100 people because you know one person might have information? And that's what you do when you accept the principle of torture. I think it's uncivilized and has no practical advantages and is really un-American to accept on principle that we will torture people that we capture,” said the congressman.
Waterboarding has become a hot topic since it was revealed that the practice — which emulates the effects of drowning on detainees — was being employed during the George W Bush administration.
White House deputy spokesman Tony Fratto stated in 2008 that the Bush administration did in fact encourage counterterrorism agents to use waterboarding in order to gain intelligence in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. At the time Fratto said that the issue of waterboarding “was brought before the Department of Justice and they made a determination that its use under specific circumstances and with safeguards was lawful.”
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsefled, however, went on the record to say that waterboarding did nothing to help obtain information on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, arguably the biggest counterterrorism success America has had during the past decade.
During the last debate, Representative Michele Bachmann argued otherwise, however, saying that as a counterterrorism technique, "I think it was very effective.”
Ron Paul also separated himself from the other candidates by backing-away from any attacks on Iran as talks of the country’s nuclear program become more common.
“I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq. And, you know, they didn't have weapons of mass destruction. And it was orchestrated and it was, to me, a tragedy of what's happened these last 10 years, the death and destruction, $4 trillion in debt. So no, it's not worthwhile going to war,” said Paul.
Aside from Paul, Huntsman’s campaign agenda most severely critiques America’s current foreign policy tactics, and perhaps he should know best — of all the GOP hopefuls, he has the most experience on the matter, having previously served as an ambassador to China. He has polled poorly in recent weeks, however, leaving Paul with perhaps the only chance to be a Republican nominee opposed to ongoing American wars a viable chance at the White House.