The GOP's Presidential candidates split sharply on the question of whether or not to torture prisoners at Saturday night's national security debate in South Carolina. Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann aggressively defended the use of waterboarding, while Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman condemned torture as immoral and illegal.
"I do not agree with torture, period," Cain said to start the exchange. "However, I will trust the judgment of our military leaders to determine what is torture and what is not torture. That is the critical consideration."
Asked specifically about waterboarding, Cain tipped his hand. "I don't see it as torture," he said. "I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique."
Bachmann issued an enthusiastic appeal to putting the now-banned method back into America's interrogation playbook.
"If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding," she said. "I think it was very effective."
Paul rebutted the two on legal, moral, and pragmatic grounds.
"I think it's uncivilized, it has no practical advantages and its really un-American to accept on principle that we will torture people that we capture," he said.
Huntsman agreed with the Texas Congressman.
"This country has values, we have a name brand in the world," he said. "We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project which include liberty democracy, human rights, and open markets when we torture."
Republished with permission from TalkingPointsMemo.com. Authored by Benjy Sarlin. Photo via AP. TPM provides breaking news, investigative reporting and smart analysis of politics.