The use of waterboarding was discontinued late in the administration of President George W. Bush, and top officials later conceded that waterboarding in particular was illegal.
But in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden, several Bush administration officials have launched an effort to resurrect the technique, or at least salvage its reputation, by suggesting that information acquired during the earlier waterboarding years may have provided an essential clue to locating bin Laden.
Only Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who used the foreign policy debate to bolster his image as the experienced statesman of the current crop of Republican candidates, challenged the logic of the brutal tactic.
“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,” Huntsman said. “Waterboarding is torture. We shouldn’t torture.”