December 19th, 2007
06:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Giuliani: Waterboarding may be acceptable

CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Giuliani on board the CNN Election Express Wednesday.

(CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that waterboarding should not be used regularly in interrogations, but might be called for in a “once in a lifetime, once in a decade situation.”

"Having looked at this, it certainly should not be a practice that should go on generally,” the former mayor of New York said in an interview in Columbia, Missouri.

But Giuliani told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that there may be situations where waterboarding - a technique where a person undergoes simulated drowning - would be warranted to obtain critical information from an alleged terrorist, such as the location of a nuclear bomb about to explode.

Many human rights organizations consider waterboarding to be torture.

"I don't think you can write this out as a procedure that should be write out for all situations,” Giuliani said. “I think the president and the appropriate officials should have some discretion here.”

– Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson

Filed under: Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. aaron, minneapolis mn

    We had Japanese soldiers hanged for using waterboarding on American soldiers. We found it torture back then and we still find it to be totured today. Anyone who has used this technique should be considered as a war crime.

    December 19, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Surrealist, Fort Myers

    You failed the quiz Guliani!!!

    The correct answer is "IT IS NEVER ALRIGHT TO TORTURE".

    America expects more from their Commander-In-Chief!!!

    December 19, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    what a loser

    December 19, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Jon, New York NY

    Let's waterboard Guliani and he can let us know if it's ok

    December 19, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Marty, Sacramento CA

    Torture is torture is torture, and we've already labeled waterboarding as such. The president of the United States should be working to stop torture here and abroad, not to promote and justify it's use. Simple as that.

    Isn't this one of the reasons why conservatives claim it was necessary to invade Iraq – to stop Saddam from torturing people?

    So what's next, putting suspected terrorists on the rack or ramming ice picks under toenails? As if we needed another reason not to vote for Giuliani.

    December 19, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. Bill Albany ny

    Coming from Guiliani, this must mean each person should be waterboarded once in a lifetime or even once a decade. Hence his statement: “once in a lifetime, once in a decade situation.” Thanks for the clarification Rudy!

    December 19, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. Lou ô¿ô Oklahoma City, OK

    Sooo Rudy!, it's OK for America to torture but then we prosecute and demonize others in other countries for it?

    I long for the day when I can resume being a proud American. Our leadership and even our potential leaders are without question acting: Un-American.

    I want my country back!

    December 19, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. John, New York, NY

    Once again we see the classic Giuliani. Acknowledge the need for human rights and civil liberties....but only when its convenient.

    December 19, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Lee, Mays Landing, New Jersey

    Once you find it acceptable sometimes, than it becomes acceptable, and the interrogator who is on the side of "right and might" and without any law constraining, can find more and more instances to use it.

    Once you allow this form or torture, it's not a great leap to just have bone breaking, medieval devices like the rack, or modern right-wing central american/CIA techniques like electrodes to one's potatoes or some other genital mutilation.

    Rudy knows that the republican "base" somehow loves the idea or torture, perhaps as collective "payback" for "9-11". It's more about bloodthirsty revenge and has very little to do with actually getting reliable intelligence.

    We had reliable intelligence BEFORE 9-11 without torture or any unconstitutinal acts but we had leaders who were disinterested, lazy, and did not bother to put agencies on alert and talking to each other.

    In the end, the terrorists won because they made us change, caused us to take to evil measures, and made our foolish leaders go on a general "crusade" rather than just catching and punishing the band that were responsible. Now bin Laden looks to be a hero to many in the Arab world (like some Iraqi youth) when before he was a marginal lunatic/criminal.

    December 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    Lest we forget "W"'s immortal words: "America DOES NOT torture".

    No, we Americans don't....we have secret prison camps elsewhere for that.

    And we USED to have the tapes to PROVE it until the CIA destroyed them after they were told Not to.

    I smell something funky. Smells like Imperialism.

    December 19, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    How do we explain that water boarding is acceptable to those countries the U.S. prosecuted for war crimes for its use in past wars?

    How have we become so lost in our political morality that serious candidates for President can be in favor of what has been officially categorized as a war crime by our nation for decades?

    All the more reason we need a visionary like Obama, and not reactionaries who "go with the flow" like Giuliani, Clinton, Romney etc. We have lost our way and need moral leadership.

    December 19, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. rosemergy

    It's interesting that they always refer to waterboarding as "simulated drowning." Drowning happens when your lungs fill with water, and that is exactly what happens during waterboarding. The only thing "simulated" about it is that the person doing it stops before your lungs fill and you die.

    It's not simulated drowning - it's actual drowning, truncated.

    December 19, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Pete Mac, NYC

    I agree with Guiliani and so do most people I know. To say that we will not do it (or even more harsh measures) under ANY circumstances is to lie. I can easily think of circumstances where it would be acceptable and anyone who doesn't is being intellectually dishonest, perhaps even to themselves.

    There is also a false assumption on the part of many that torture means what it says it means in the Torture Convention. That is NOT what it means at all – it really means what it says it means in the Declarations and Reservations section, which is to say it means whatever each country wants it to me at any given time.

    December 19, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Enrique in Reno, NV

    The good of the many outweigh the good of the one. Although torture is an abhorent method of obtaining crucial information, there are times when we must forcibly extract information from someone that does not want to share. I think Guilani's example is a valid one and kudos to him for having the guts to say it and stand behind it.

    December 19, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |

    I accept WaterBoarding as a sure fire deterrent to them bastards who want to do the same or worse to us. Anyone who doesn't want to do it, I will take thier turn and do it to any terorist that may or may not have information to give up. Look what it did to get Abu Zubayda or even Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the subsequent information it gained and the lives it saved. If they didn't want it done to them, they shouldn't have done what they did to us!

    All I can say is: Too Bad!

    December 19, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. sam ,Rockford,Illinois

    I can not beleif that aturture in any way should be acceptable by anyone cevilized personn,what make us better than those terrorist,who may use the same logic?.
    Mr.Giuliani is no different.

    December 19, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. AjayVee, Nepean, Canada

    Now that the US is officially on the HRW list of countries-that-torture, what difference does it really make whether it's once a decade or twice or 10 times? A country tortures or does not; period!

    December 19, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Independent in IA

    I'm sure this freak condones thumb-screws and electric shock to the testicles perfectly within the pervue of 'interrogation' as well.

    He is an abomination to the human race and should never have been allowed in the gene-pool.

    December 19, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Sternberg, Mauldin, SC

    Torture leaves a person broken in mind and body. Waterboarding does none of those things, but only causes a phsycholeffect, leaving the interogated person fully capable of performing every feat and skill both physical or mental that he was ever capable of before.

    December 19, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. B. Brown

    No surprise here. Giuliani is a fascist, no doubt. Anyone living in New York during Giuliani's reign can attest to that. Now some people like fascists, so there were people in New York who liked him. But those who like freedom were not big fans of Giuliani. He was more than a little bit nuts at times.

    December 19, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Will Conway

    He really is right. I mean can you just say, "No waterboarding. Period." ?? I don't think so. It's not a black and white topic. As he says, rarely. But still legal.

    ~Will Conway

    December 19, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |

    Rudy Giuliani is a despicable human being. He should volunteer himself to be waterboarded. This ghoulish man is unfit to govern this great nation. I just hope Americans see him for what he is, a pretender, a fraud, a miscreant.

    December 19, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. Lawrence James, NY, NY

    I want Giuliani waterboarded until he tells me what's going on with 911 lung disease and why he tries to cover it up. I'm a 911 victim and i do not support ANY republican war mongers!

    December 19, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Why is waterboarding any diffferent that sticking somebody's head in a waterbucket and holding their head down. Water flows downward. No different than tossing somebody out of a helicopter. The South Vietnese did it all the time and undoutedly it was done in WW11. The object is to get people to talk and save lives.

    December 19, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Harold M... Eugene,... Oregon, 97402

    Giuliani, needs to undergo a session of waterboarding for his corruption filled career as NYC Mayor, if not for 9-11 Giuliani would be hailed as NYC worst mayor and most corrupt official. He had dealings with well known drug sydicates heads. Hell has a nice warm spot waiting on his carcass.

    December 19, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
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