Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is accusing the Obama administration of committing “strategic blunders” that have hampered U.S. efforts to combat terrorism.
Bachmann concedes that President Barack Obama achieved a “tactical” success in bringing down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and in taking out some of his cohorts in drone attacks.
But she tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Obama “is allowing the ACLU to run the CIA,” complaining that it was wrong to ban waterboarding.
Bachmann argued in Saturday night’s foreign policy debate for reinstituting waterboarding. She said the intelligence community has been deprived of the ability it once had to get vital information from detainees in the war against terrorism. The Minnesota congresswoman said Gauntanamo isn’t a long-term solution and that “we have no jails for terrorists.”
That claim is not true, FactCheck.org points out in an analysis of Saturday night’s debate: “There are currently more than 1,700 men being held without trial at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.”
National Journal also calls into question Bachmann’s claim:
Under Obama’s watch, the U.S. has maintained — and expanded — the size of its secretive prisons in Afghanistan; opened up new detention facilities on the island of Diego Garcia; and opened up new facilities in the African nation of Somalia. In addition, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility remains open, and terror suspects held there continue to be interrogated.
Bachmann was not the only GOP candidate to call for the renewed use of torture Saturday night.
The Huffington Post’s Josh Hersh reports:
Cain also provided one of the most striking moments when he argued in favor of the use of “enhanced interrogation” — including the now-rejected technique of waterboarding — in the fight against terrorism, a proposal that is likely to outrage many who thought the era of American-sponsored torture was over.
Attempting to parse his answer by suggesting that he did “not agree with torture, period,” but instead supported “enhanced interrogation,” Cain said he would rely on the military to decide which techniques were acceptable.
“I will trust the judgment of our military to determine what is torture and what is not torture,” Cain said. Asked about waterboarding in particular, he replied, “I would return to that policy. I don’t see it as torture, I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.”
Both Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Texas Governor Rick Perry agreed with Cain, with Perry drawing sustained applause when declared, “This is war.” Of the use of waterboarding and other techniques, he added, “I will defend them until I die.”
Only Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who used the foreign policy debate to bolster his image as the experienced statesman of the current crop of Republican candidates, challenged the logic of the brutal tactic.
Read more here.