The audience at Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate erupted into applause at the mention of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that is defined as torture by U.S. and international laws.
The National Journal‘s Major Garrett asked Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to respond to a Vietnam veteran who said he believed torture was wrong in all cases.
Cain agreed that torture was wrong, but said he would defer to the military as to what techniques constituted torture.
“Mr. Cain, of course you are familiar with the long-running debate we’ve had about whether waterboarding constitutes torture or is an enhanced interrogation technique,” Garrett noted. “In the last campaign, Republican nominee John McCain and Barack Obama agreed that it was torture and should not be allowed legally.”
“I don’t see it as torture. I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique,” Cain replied as the audience expressed approval.
Garrett then turned to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann for her response.
“If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding,” she explained as the crowd cheered wildly. “It was very effective. It gained information for our country.”
But two of the candidates actually agreed with the veteran who said waterboarding should not be used under any circumstance. Both Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said waterboarding amounted to torture.