And we thought torture had been banished. For Obama, yes. For Romney, not so much.
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. Even as he embraced a hawkish approach to other counterterrorism issues — like drone strikes, military commissions, indefinite detention and the Patriot Act — Mr. Obama has stuck to that strict no-torture policy.
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.
While the memo is a policy proposal drafted by Mr. Romney’s advisers in September 2011 — not a final decision by him — its detailed analysis dovetails with his rare and limited public comments about interrogation.
“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. ...Charlie Savage, NYT
This isn't just a hypothetical on the part of Times. They have the document -- specifically a paper circulated to "18 lawyers the Romney campaign’s national security law subcommittee..."
The Romney campaign document, obtained by The New York Times, is a five-page policy paper titled “Interrogation Techniques.” It was a near-final draft circulated in September 2011 among the Romney campaign’s “National Security Law Subcommittee” for any further comments before it was to be submitted to Mr. Romney. The panel consists of a brain trust of conservative lawyers, most of whom are veterans of the George W. Bush administration.
The Romney campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The policy paper acknowledges that it is hard to know what would be different had Mr. Bush’s interrogation policy continued. But it argues that Mr. Obama’s approach has “hampered (or will hamper) the fight against terrorism” by forbidding techniques “that we should feel, as a nation, that we have a right to use against our enemies.” ...NYT
I'm part of this nation and I don't "feel" we have the right to use torture. On the contrary (and as we seem to have forgotten for the past 30 years) we have the obligation to choose the high ground. The question is -- particularly for those of us who can't believe October will pass without a significant challenge to Obama's lead -- to what extent a Romney presidency would take us back to the brutal, secretive, authoritarian kind of presidency so cherished by Richard Nixon and which Bush Jr., with college kid enthusiasm, embraced thanks to Nixon leftovers like Dick Cheney.