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More Romney on torture

Mark Wilson/Getty Images As Blake pointed out earlier today, the most surprising bit of last night’s Republican debate was Gov. Mitt Romney’s declaration that the United States should “double Guantanamo” and should routinely make use of what he calls “enhanced interrogation techniques.” After the debate last night, Romney expanded on that thought in an interview with Sean Hannity ...

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images

As Blake pointed out earlier today, the most surprising bit of last night’s Republican debate was Gov. Mitt Romney’s declaration that the United States should “double Guantanamo” and should routinely make use of what he calls “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

After the debate last night, Romney expanded on that thought in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. It is worth watching the video in order to understand Romney’s precise thinking here. It appears to be this: The nature of the enemy determines the morality with which you fight.

[W]e’re dealing with terrorist nations,” Romney told Hannity. “They’re not following any procedures of this nature.”

So neither should we, was Romney’s point. Hannity then asked Romney how far he would go in torturing suspected terrorists.

I don’t think any president of the United States is wise to say here’s how far I’ll go,” Romney responded. “I think you always keep that to yourself.”

We’ll take that as an “I don’t know.” And, apparently, Romney won’t be engaging in a public debate about where that line should be, either:

We’re not going to project the kind of line that represents torture or not torture.”

One has to wonder whether Romney understands the fundamental nature of the war the United States is fighting. It is a war of ideas. You don’t win that kind of war by sinking to the terrorists’ level, or by forfeiting the principles that separate enlightened, modern society from the dark, desperate world of radical Islamists.

I also worry that Romney’s remarks are further evidence of how profoudly lost the Republican party is today. On the stage last night was a leading candidate for the party’s nomination, droning on endlessly about his deep and profound “respect for life” —and advocating torture in the same breath. The only thing more disappointing was the room full of party faithful who seemed to miss the irony.

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