Republican rivals wrong on waterboarding: Obama
Washington: President Barack Obama has lectured Republican presidential hopefuls on the role of US leadership after they vowed to revoke his ban on controversial "waterboarding" interrogation of terror suspects, saying they were "wrong" as "torture" was against America's traditions.
During a presidential debate in South Carolina on Saturday, Republican candidates like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann said they would reinstate the technique that former president George W Bush authorised on terror suspects and Obama outlawed in 2009.
"They're wrong. Waterboarding is torture. It's contrary to America's traditions. It's contrary to our ideals," Obama said during a press conference at the Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hawaii, the Democrat President's birthplace.
"That's not who we are. That's not how we operate. We don't need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice."
Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over the face of an immobilised captive, thus causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning.
"If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example. Anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture.”
"That's not something we do - period," Obama, who is seeking a second term in White House in 2012, said emphatically.
According to reports, the CIA had apparently used waterboarding on three al Qaeda suspects, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri to elicit information on the terror network's operations.
At the Republican debate on foreign policy issues, candidates like Bachmann and Rick Perry, both members of the US House of Representatives, said they would revoke Obama's policy.
"If I was president I would be willing to use waterboarding," Bachmann said.
Perry also agreed. "I don't see it as torture," he said. "I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique."