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December 04, 2014

Quote Sheet: Bipartisan Opposition to Torture

President Barack Obama. “I can stand here today, as President of the United States, and say without exception or equivocation that we do not torture, and that we will vigorously protect our people while forging a strong and durable framework that allows us to fight terrorism while abiding by the rule of law.”

Vice President Joe Biden. “The President shut down secret prisons overseas, banned torture, and in doing so demonstrated that we don’t have to choose between protecting our country and living our values; and, as a consequence of those decisions, enhanced the security of our own soldiers abroad and the power of our persuasion around the world.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ). “It is my hope that we can reach a consensus in this country that we will never again engage in these horrific abuses, and that the mere suggestion of doing so should be ruled out of our political discourse, regardless of which party holds power.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). "I’m opposed to torture, and I think our country should have a higher ideal than that. And I would oppose it and make that part of – actually it is officially part of our Army Manual not to do it. We just don’t pay attention to our own rules. But yeah, I think that torture is always wrong and shouldn’t be performed."

Kenneth A. Duberstein (Chief of Staff, Reagan Administration) and Richard Armitage (Deputy Secretary of State 2001-2005). “We will not win the war on terror merely by being brutal or tough. We must build policies that are first and foremost effective. Torture undermines our effectiveness in this struggle because it debases us. It reduces us to the same brutality as our enemies, and it alienates people around the world who, as General Colin Powell wrote, are ‘beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.’ America must keep itself free and secure by explicitly and unequivocally rejecting torture.”

Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah. “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. We should not torture. Waterboarding is torture. We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries. And we lose that ability to project values that a lot of people in corners of this world are still relying on the United States to stand up for them.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). “Through World War II, the example of Britain, in the shadow of Hitler's Nazism, throwing out of their secure intelligence facility somebody who had the nerve to lay hands on one of their prisoners, partly because they knew it was bad practice in intelligence-gathering, partly because it wasn't who they were … And I think the fact that over and over again they refused to use those techniques is actually a measure of their strength.”

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