What U.S. Presidential Candidates (Republicans) Think About Human Rights?
What U.S. Presidential Candidates (Republicans) Think About Human Rights?

The following are quotes from interviews with U.S. Republican Presidential candidates on their perspectives on human rights, torture, and the genocide in Darfur.

Rudy Giuliani

  • On waterboarding as torture: “It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it. I think the way it’s been defined in the media, it shouldn’t be done… And I hate to shock anybody with this, but the newspapers don’t always describe it accurately”
  • “…America should not allow torture. But America should engage in aggressive questioning of Islamic terrorists who are arrested or who are apprehended. Because if we don’t we leave ourselves open to significant attack… It violates the Geneva Convention. Certainly when we’re dealing with armed combatants, we shouldn’t get near anything like that. There is a distinction, sometimes, when you’re dealing with terrorists. You may have to use means that are a little tougher.

Source: In His Words, Giuliani on Torture. October 25, 2007. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/25/in-his-own-words-giuliani-on-torture/

  • On Darfur: “genocide in Africa is no different than genocide in Asia or Europe or America or any place else… The administration should seize on his recommendation of several days ago to hold a summit, to bring together the countries that can help, that can help stem the tide of genocide, end it, and kind of bring them to a solution, bring them to a solution in which we demonstrate that we can do positive things and good things, and things in which we bring about security for people and decency for people. There’s a community of purpose here, and America should seize it and bring it together and play a role here.”

Source: Giuliani Praise on Journalist. March, 14th, 2007. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/03/14/giuliani-praises-one-journalist/

  • “…we need to look realistically at America’s relationship with the United Nations. The organization can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it. The UN has proved irrelevant to the resolution of almost every major dispute of the last 50 years… International law and institutions exist to serve peoples and nations, but many leaders act as if the reverse were true — that is, as if institutions, not the ends to be achieved, were the important thing.”
  • “The next president must champion human rights and speak out when they are violated. America should continue to use its influence to bring attention to individual abuses and use a full range of inducements and pressures to try to end them. Securing the rights of men, women, and children everywhere should be a core commitment of any country that counts itself as part of the civilized world… And so the better a country’s record on good governance, human rights, and democratic development, the better its relations with the United States will be. Those countries that want our help in moving toward these ideals will have it.”

Source: Giuliani, Rudolph. “Toward a Realistic Peace.” Foreign Affairs. September/October 2007. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070901faessay86501-p60/rudolph-w-giuliani/toward-a-realistic-peace.html

Mike Huckabee

  • Guantanamo: “It’s more symbolic than it is a substantive issue, because people perceive of mistreatment when, in fact, there are extraordinary means being taken to make sure these detainees are being given, really, every consideration.”
  • Holding detainees without charges or evidence: “if we let somebody out” they could “come and fly an airliner into one of our skyscrapers.”

Source: http://thinkprogress.org/2007/06/11/huckabee-gitmo/

  • Darfur: I think we have some role to play in it, but I guess what disturbs me even more, we have not even addressed the genocide that’s going on and the infanticide in our own country with the slaughter of millions of unborn children. Yes, we ought to be involved in Darfur. But you know something? There are a lot of people in America that don’t think the only poverty is in Darfur–understand there’s poverty in the Delta .”

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University, September 27th, 2007. http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Duncan_Hunter_Foreign_Policy.htm

Representative Duncan Hunter

  • Darfur: The outside troops, UN and African Union, are not getting the job done because they’re garrisoned far away from the villages that get hammered by the Janjaweed. The troops always get there too late. What we probably need to do is get a humanitarian corridor driven up through that vast country, where we have armed convoys, UN convoys or African Union convoys to get food and medicine to those people that need it most.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University, September 27th, 2007. http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Duncan_Hunter_Foreign_Policy.htm

  • Keeping Guantanamo open: “Well, absolutely. And let me tell you that the proof of that is the fact that we have conducted these combatant review tribunals. And we’ve actually sent back to the battlefield or sent back to Afghanistan some of the people that we thought were no longer a threat. Some of those people have shown up on the battlefield bearing arms against our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, back on the battlefield after we sent them back. If anything, we’ve been too liberal with the release of terrorists. [The prisoners at Guantanamo] get taxpayer-paid-for prayer rugs. They have prayer five times a day. They’ve all gained weight. We’ve got to keep Guantanamo open

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007 http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Duncan_Hunter_Homeland_Security.htm

Alan Keyes

  • Darfur: We are a nation of nations, a people of many peoples. We are in touch with every people on Earth. If somebody is being hurt somewhere in the world, somebody in America grieves for them. And I don’t believe we can turn our backs on that universal mission. We don’t have to send troops, but we need to support and reinforce the sense of local, regional responsibility for both humanitarian and military order in that region.

Source: Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University, September 27th, 2007. http://www.ontheissues.org/Archive/2007_GOP_Morgan_State_Foreign_Policy.htm

  • Torture:… And that we now face in the context of this terrible terrorist threat the possibility that we, ourselves, may be forced by circumstances to resort to the very abuse that we have opposed. This poses a painful issue for all of us I would think of decent conscience. … And that it doesn’t necessary mean you’re just sticking things under the fingernails and so forth. It can be psychological. There are other very sophisticated means that can be used. But the basic wrong of it is that conscience assault on human dignity, and I think if we routinize that assault, we will be giving up something that is just as precious to us as our physical existence, and in fact, something that we have dedicated many lives over the course of our wars to preserving. And that is our commitment to the principle and spirit of human dignity… Now, I think that you have a system where, right now, the president, as commander in chief, takes responsibility for what is done in these national security situations. He has the ability to authorize these kinds of extraordinary measures, and I think even to acknowledge that what governs that decision is a necessity, in extremes, not necessarily a belief that what we’re dealing with here is lawful. That’s where I have the problem. I think if we start reestablishing procedures like this, we are turning the clock back, to the time before abolition of torture, putting ourselves back into a situation where in point of fact people could misunderstand what we’re doing as reinstituting some lawful form of torture… But it seems to me if you reintroduce us to the world in which we somehow believe that it’s possible to find in principle a justification for torture, and that justification would have to be necessity, then you return to us the realm where we have made necessity the governance of principle.

Source: http://www.renewamerica.us/show/transcripts/02_02_04akims.htm

Senator John McCain

  • On waterboarding as torture: “All I can say is that it was used in the Spanish Inquisition, it was used in Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today… They should know what it is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture.” Source: Cooper, Michael and Santora, Marc. “McCain Rebukes Giuliani on Waterboarding Remarks.” New York Times. October 26, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/26/us/politics/26giuliani.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/F/Freedom%20and%20Human%20Rights
  • In 2005, McCain sponsored and passed a bill on torture, which banned all U.S. personnel from engaging in “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of detainees and included a provision for legal counsel for those who are accused (of torture), both civilian and military
  • In 2007, McCain sent a letter to Secretary Condoleezza Rice about human rights abuses in North Korea
  • League of Democracies: “…We should go further by linking democratic nations in one common organization: a worldwide League of Democracies… The organization could act when the UN fails — to relieve human suffering in places such as Darfur… This League of Democracies would not supplant the UN or other international organizations but complement them by harnessing the political and moral advantages offered by united democratic action. By taking steps such as bringing concerted pressure to bear on tyrants in Burma (renamed Myanmar by its military government in 1989) or Zimbabwe, uniting to impose sanctions on Iran, and providing support to struggling democracies in Serbia and Ukraine, the League of Democracies would serve as a unique handmaiden of freedom.” Source: McCain, John. “An Enduring Peace Build on Freedom.” Foreign Affairs. November/December 2007. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20071101faessay86602-p50/john-mccain/an-enduring-peace-built-on-freedom.html
  • Darfur: “With respect to the Darfur region of Sudan, I fear that the United States is once again repeating the mistakes it made in Bosnia and Rwanda. In Bosnia, we acted late but eventually saved countless lives. In Rwanda, we stood by and watched the slaughter and later pledged that we would not do so again. The genocide in Darfur demands U.S. leadership. My administration will consider the use of all elements of American power to stop the outrageous acts of human destruction that have unfolded there.” Source: McCain, John. “An Enduring Peace Build on Freedom.” Foreign Affairs. November/December 2007. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20071101faessay86602-p50/john-mccain/an-enduring-peace-built-on-freedom.html

Representative Ron Paul

  • Darfur: The US government has no authority. There’s no constitutional authority. There’s no moral authority. There’s plenty of moral authority and responsibility for individuals to participate. But every time we get involved, no matter where, for good intentions, believe me, we’re getting involved in a civil war. Even when you send food, it ends up in the hands of the military and they use it as weapons. So it’s not well-intended. We should direct our attention only to national security and not get involved for these feel-good reasons. And this is the main reason why I think we ought to just come home from every place in the world and bring our troops home from Iraq.

Source: Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University, September 27th, 2007. http://www.ontheissues.org/Archive/2007_GOP_Morgan_State_Foreign_Policy.htm

  • Torture: “But you know, I think it’s interesting talking about torture here in that it’s become enhanced interrogation technique. It sounds like Newspeak. Nobody’s for the torture, and I think that’s important. But as far as taking care of a problem like this, the president has the authority to do that. If we’re under imminent attack, the president can take that upon himself to do it.

Source: Republican Debate. May 15th 2007. http://www.cfr.org/publication/13338/

Governor Mitt Romney

  • Darfur/UN: “We should also look for new ways to strengthen regional cooperation and security partnerships with responsible actors in order to confront challenges such as the genocide in Darfur. And if the UN Human Rights Council continues to be inactive or behave hypocritically, we should unite with nations that share our commitment to defending human rights in order to promote change.”

Source: Romney, Mitt. “Rising to a New Generation of Global Challenges.” Foreign Affairs. July/August 2007. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070701faessay86402-p50/mitt-romney/rising-to-a-new-generation-of-global-challenges.html

  • Torture: “Now we’re going to — you said the person’s going to be in Guantanamo. I’m glad they’re at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons. I want them there. Some people have said, we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo. We ought to make sure that the terrorists — (applause) — and there’s no question but that in a setting like that where you have a ticking bomb that the president of the United States — not the CIA interrogator, the president of the United States — has to make the call. And enhanced interrogation techniques have to be used — not torture but enhanced interrogation techniques, yes.”

Source: Republican Debate. May 15th 2007. http://www.cfr.org/publication/13338/

Representative Tom Tancredo

  • Darfur: The very first trip I ever took as a Congressman was to Sudan. I worked 2 years to pass the Sudan Peace Act. I believe we have a moral responsibility to act. It is not to send troops. I do not believe we need boots on the ground in Sudan to deal with this issue. But you know what we could do? We could see whether the United Nations is worth its salt and force them into participating in this issue and in getting that solved.”

Source: Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University, September 27th, 2007. http://www.ontheissues.org/Archive/2007_GOP_Morgan_State_Foreign_Policy.htm

  • Torture: “ I told you, yes, I would do — certainly, waterboard — I don’t believe that that is, quote, “torture.” I would do what is necessary to protect this country. That is the ultimate responsibility of the president of the United States. All of the other things that we do, all of the other things — all of the other powers vested in him pale in comparison to his responsibility to keep the people of this country safe. And that is ultimate. And, yes, I would go to great lengths to keep this country safe.

Source: Republican Debate. September 5th, 2007. http://blogs.amnestyusa.org/denounce-torture/archive/2007/09/06/last-night-s-gop-debate–torture.htm

Fred Dalton Thompson

  • Torture: “If our country is faced with an imminent loss of lives of innocent Americans, and we have someone, and we’re confident enough in our intelligence that this person has important information that could save the lives of innocent Americans – all I can say is that as president…the measures will always meet the circumstances. And I will do what I think is in the best interest of my country.”

Source: October 31st in San Francisco. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/11/03/us/politics/03torture.web.html

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