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. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    I'd like to nail Rudy's junk to a burning log and give him a hatchet to chop himself free. That wouldn't be torture, either, in MY OPINION.

    December 20, 2007 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. JC, Milford MA

    For all you folks that are against it, let me ask you this...what would you do if some crazed maniac was holding your family hostage and they would be killed by a bomb at a remote location if you didn't find them in time...but you just happened catch him along the way? Would you play nice and ask him to please tell you where they were over and over again? And if he didn't, would you just say OK I guess that's that? Heck no you wouldn't! You, just like anyone else would beat/torture them until they told you what you needed to know to save your family. ANYONE that says they wouldn't is a plain liar or just has no clue about what they are talking about. Coming right out and saying "we will not torture, PERIOD" only emboldens the enemy. Do you have any clue at all about what kind of people we are dealing with here? I suppose you people are on the "bring the troops home NOW" bandwagon too. Hey, I want them home too...when Iraq can stand on it's own two feet. You silly bleeding heart liberals need to get a clue.

    December 20, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. J.Crobuzon

    Remember all the people Jesus tortured?

    December 20, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. Christopher, Washington DC

    You don't beat terrorists by becoming LIKE them. You beat them by being smarter than they are, by being BETTER than they are. And now that we have political leaders saying that torture techniques are "potentially useful" then we've lost the moral high ground. And we NEED the moral high ground. We taught our soldiers to withstand torture and terror techniques because they might encounter them should they be captured by "barbarians." What's the message now? "Torture is now open season, soldier, because it may be useful in some cases." Virtues untested are not virtues. So, is it true that our virtues of treating prisoners in a civilized manner is merely a ruse? That the lesson of General Washington's treatment of British prisoners in the American Revolution is merely a old affectation, and that the modern real world is simply too cut-throat to keep our morals in place? Sad, that those who wish to "keep the world safe" are so willing to turn it into a dark, immoral world in the process.

    December 20, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Justin, Lincoln, NE

    come on rudy, let's not go torturing the terrorists. better to let innocent americans die than to find out where that bomb's at…
    Posted By joe adhamyia iraq : December 19, 2007 7:16 pm

    WHAT BOMB??!?! This isn't "24"! Our country is plenty secure. The only attack against this country could have been avoided. Islam is not our enemy, but extremism is. Extremism here at home.

    December 20, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. John, NYC

    Sepcific to Mac in NYC. You may have a decent argument about the necessity to use extreme measures in extreme situations. However, I would assert that, if extreme measures are used under any circumstances, then the person who chooses to take those measures should be held acountable and suffer the consequences. For example, even though it may be humane to end a suffering cancer victim's life, the doctor who does so should lose his/her license. In the case of torture...fine, you use toture to find the location of a you must forfeit your right to lead the country and hand it off to someone who's hands aren't dirtied by your actions.

    December 20, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. seth, minneapolis

    It's really simple. Waterboarding is torture. America declared waterboarding torture after the Spanish-American war. America has prosecuted people for war crimes for using waterboarding. You CANNOT say that it isn't torture.

    So the question is: "Is torture ok?" And anyone who says that torture is ok, is spitting on the American flag and saying the deaths of thousands of our brave soldiers for freedom and justice and liberty are all for nothing.

    America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of sadists and cowards.

    December 20, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Jerry, greenville, sc

    Anyone who says torture is ok is no better than Saddam Hussein. Period. We're talking here about very basic things.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    If you support torture get the hell out of my country. America does not excuse torture. It's disgusting that you sick people are supporting it.

    December 20, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Drindl, Reality USA

    ' 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.'

    Note to media-try to learn the facts. It is not simulated drowning - it's drowning. They just stop before you die–although not always. Over a hundred detainees have died in US custory after 'interrogation.'

    And these far-fetches scenarios are ludicrous. What are the chances that someone in US custody would know 'the location of a nuclear bomb'? It's these brainless scare tactics that make the bedwetting cowards of the gop even more terrified and violent.

    I do agree with previous posters, though, if we are allow waterboarding, Guiliani ought to be the first to undergo it, for what he did to his wife and children.

    December 20, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. Barbara Graham, San Diego CA

    While I hate to use the term "slippery slope," admitting torture for *some* is no guarantee that others won't be added to the list later.

    I've read a lot of posts by supposed Americans who support waterboarding of terrorists. But the definition of terrorist is only that, a definition, and definitions can be expanded.

    Remember that saying that starts, "When the Nazis came for the Jews, I did nothing, because I'm not Jewish."

    It's like that. There's where we're heading if any torture is tolerated in our country. Who knows who will be next?

    December 20, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Doug, New Jersey

    Just remember that if a nuke was about to go off in America that a Democrat president would not use waterboarding to find out where it is. Now, who do you trust with our safety?

    December 20, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Ian, Eastham MA

    Torture only yield unconfirmable lies.

    At least, that's what I'd do if I were tortured...tell them what they want to hear, but not the truth.

    December 20, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Jose Card

    Waterboarding is not acceptable. – John McCain.

    I agree with Senator McCain.

    December 20, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Alice, Seattle, WA


    PLEASE...enough of the unfounded hysteria.

    December 20, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. dan, Reality, USA

    Torture has never proven to provide good intel. Why would we knowingly do something that would cause us to waste valuable time and resources chasing down bogus leads provided from torture? Are we torturing just so Dick and W can get their rocks off?

    It's astounding to think that we'd knowingly do something that we know to be illegal as well as useless. It's sheer incompetence if you ask me. Which I guess is about par for the course with this crew.

    Quick question for the "ticking time bomb" folks out there. Is it ok if al-qaeda tortures one of our soldiers in the "once in a lifetime event" that they may know of a bomb waiting to explode their terrorist camp at any minute?

    I remember a time when America had the high moral ground. Our moral authority was what made us better than the terrorists. Now it's hard to discern between our behavior and that of the terrorists. Pathetic and shameful....

    December 20, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Marc, Lafayette CA

    Where's Chris from Middletown, CT telling us that Giuliani is a moderate? I guess it’s kind of hard to call someone who condones torture a moderate. Does anyone else think maybe Chris is a Political Ticker plant working for the Giuliani campaign? I'd bet the farm that when Rudy loses the nomination (and let’s face it, he will lose) Chris stops posting here...

    The only Republican who has the correct answer to these questions is McCain. It's sad that Presidential candidates in 2008 are supporting torture. Did we time-warp back to the dark Ages?

    Anyone supporting failed, un-American, Bush policy like this doesn't deserve to be our President.

    December 20, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. JV, Seattle, WA

    I just love the mindset of left wingers. They are so convinced their liberities are being taken by the current Administration, yet they have blind eye to a liberal agenda operating under the guise of political correctness. Lefties have been eroding our freedoms for years. They have no problem dictating what we speak, eat, drink, drive, marry...whatever. While, admittedly, there has been an occasional good to come of it, many, if not most, of their initiatives are blantantly intrusive into our personal lives.

    December 20, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Former US Army Officer, Kansas

    Waterboarding has "Never" been accetable practise in this nation. The military has defined waterboarding as torture and it is banned, only this Repulblican administration and those that refuse to call it like it is seem to have a problem uttering this "T" word, torture.

    Waterboarding is toture and torture is never justified, nor does torture ever provide usable, valid, trustworthy information. A person under going torture will eventually tell the interigators exactly what they "want" to hear to get them to stop.

    December 20, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    jhenderson from Kingsville, Tx–that's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! You honestly believe only Democrats go to war? And to think I got my college degree in your town...

    People in America need to wake up from Happyland. Three terrorists were waterboarded, two of which gave up lifesaving information, and all I hear about is how it doesn't work. How do you liberals think we should deal with terrorists? Give 'em a hug? Hold their hands and sing "We are the world"? These terrorists are beyond reason at a certain point... like a predatory animal, they go for the jugular when they sense weakness.

    December 20, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Pickles, Monaca, PA

    Does someone have facts to back up the contention that waterboarding is a good way to get accurate information from an enemy?

    December 20, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Jayson, Beale AFB, CA

    As always the loons on the left go and let their rage blind them and go on say that this means he would water board just because. But maybe that has something to do with the fact that their hate for Bush and the Republican party is comparable to the Muslims hate of Western Civilization. They don't take time think for themselves but follow the leadership of men who claim to be men of god and have the goal of taking Islam by the sword to the rest of the world. Of course most of you bumbling idiots probably don't know a lick about Osama Bin Laden chosen sect of Islam.

    Do I believe in water boarding? Yes, if someone is caught planting a roadside bomb or attacking troops in Afghanistan or Iraq and this person will not cooperate with civil questioning. If a foreign national is trying to kill American civilians. Unlike those who choose to say that waterboarding is never acceptable there are men and women who put their life on the line every day not knowing if they will be going home at the end of their tour. They have families who sit up at night and wonder if they will see their father or mother again. If it takes waterboarding one person who got caught in the act of attempting to end the lives of one of our service members or citizens you better believe that I support them being waterboarded to save the lives of men and women dying to keep Iraq and Afghanistan free.

    As for the first poster, if you seriously think Japanese soliders were hanged just for waterboarding you are out of your mind. They were hanged for ever other vile, painful, and inhumane form of torture used by the Chinese. Torture that left men mained and handicapped.

    December 20, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    There is right and there is wrong. Torture is ALWAYS wrong. Cant expect a Republican or his Christian followers to understand that though. Values??

    December 20, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. Danny C TN

    Yet again just another reason to vote Ron Paul. If we torture that makes us no better then Al CIA Duh. Ron Paul 08'

    December 20, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Patrick, Takoma Park MD

    Can we just send Rudy straight to the Hague for his war crimes trial now, and avoid the rush later?

    December 20, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Don, Marietta, GA

    "THREE people in total have been waterboarded, not the hundreds that the MSM makes it seem. FACT

    Two of those three gave up KSM, who if you sheep forget was the MASTERMIND behind 9-11 that killed our fellow INNOCENT CITIZENS. FACT

    Two of the three were not being cooperative UNTIL waterboarding was used and they gave up the GOOD information RIGHT AWAY. FACT

    Also as part of the information given were details that STOPPED MULTIPLE ATTACKS that were in the planning stages that would have been all around the world and and the US. FACT"

    Not one of those is a FACT. They are claims made by a administration known to have lied. They are claims made by an administration which destroyed tapes that might support one or more of their claims.

    "I know of NOBODY that does not agree with me and that includes ALL my Democratic leaning friends. FACT"

    Also a demonstrable lie. You are responding to people who don't agree with you. If you are going to resort to lies to make a case, then why should we believe anything you say?

    Waterboarding has been torture, defined by the courts and the military, for nearly one hundred years. What changed?

    "Having a 9/10/01 mentality is going to get us killed. FACT"

    Having Bush's 9/10/01 mentality is going to get us killed. Look what it's already done. The Clinton administration knew there was a threat and worked to prevent attacks. Bush pretended there was no threat.

    December 20, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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