The 57th United States presidential election has once again predictably narrowed down to only two realistic presidential candidates: the incumbent, President Barack Obama for the Democrats, and Gov. Mitt Romney, for the Republicans. Accordingly, we've compiled the most comprehensive database of their positions on all the topics and all the issues to assist you, the electorate, in casting your vote on November 6. Just scroll down below the introductions and click one of the 29 issues and 12 profile categories to compare the political stances and biographical data of 2012 Presidential Candidates.
Despite President Obama’s campaign pledge of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and his Executive Order to that effect issued two days after his inauguration, it is increasingly apparent that GITMO is here to stay. However, his promise of halting ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the camp has been fulfilled courtesy of his Executive Order issued on January 22, 2009.
“Section 3: Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo
The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”
January 22, 2009; Executive Order No: 13492, Signed by President Barack Obama
President Obama continues to face strong resistance in Congress on the subject of GITMO’s closure. The scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq signals the imminent closure of several Army and CIA detention facilities in those countries, which raises an increasing demand for an alternate detention facility for the prisoners held there– a further obstacle to Obama’s plan. He appeared to have accepted the inevitable with the signing of a new Executive Order on March 7, 2011, which extended the shelf-life of GITMO indefinitely.
“… in order to ensure that military detention of individuals now held at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (Guantánamo), who were subject to the interagency review under section 4 of Executive Order 13492 of January 22, 2009, continues to be carefully evaluated and justified, consistent with the national security…
Section 1: Scope and Purpose.
(a) The periodic review described in section 3 of this order applies only to those detainees held at Guantánamo on the date of this order, whom the interagency review established by Executive Order 13492 has (i) designated for continued law of war detention; or (ii) referred for prosecution, except for those detainees against whom charges are pending or a judgment of conviction has been entered.
(b) This order is intended solely to establish, as a discretionary matter, a process to review on a periodic basis the executive branch's continued, discretionary exercise of existing detention authority in individual cases…
Section 2: Standard for Continued Detention.
Continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee subject to the periodic review in Section 3 of this order if it is necessary to protect against a significant threat to the security of the United States.
Section 3: Periodic Review
The Secretary of Defense shall coordinate a process of periodic review of continued law of war detention for each detainee described in section 1(a) of this order. In consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense shall issue implementing guidelines governing the process…”
March 7, 2011; Executive Order No: 13567, Signed by President Barack Obama
On Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
“Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s traditions, it’s contrary to our ideals, 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. We did the right thing by ending that practice. If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example… And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture and that’s not something we do. Period.”
November 15, 2011; President Obama responding to a question on waterboarding in a press conference during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Kapolei, Hawaii.
“Section 6: Humane Standards of Confinement
No individual currently detained at Guantánamo shall be held in the custody or under the effective control of any officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or at a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, except in conformity with all applicable laws governing the conditions of such confinement, including Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. The Secretary of Defense shall immediately undertake a review of the conditions of detention at Guantánamo to ensure full compliance with this directive. Such review shall be completed within 30 days and any necessary corrections shall be implemented immediately thereafter.”
January 22, 2009; Executive Order No: 13492, Signed by President Barack Obama
“Section 1.Revocation.Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, is revoked. All executive directives, orders, and regulations inconsistent with this order, including but not limited to those issued to or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals, are revoked to the extent of their inconsistency with this order...
Sec. 3.Standards and Practices for Interrogation of Individuals in the Custody or Control of the United States in Armed Conflicts.
(a)Common Article 3 Standards as a Minimum Baseline.Consistent with the requirements of the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340–2340A, section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd, the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3, and other laws regulating the treatment and interrogation of individuals detained in any armed conflict, such persons shall in all circumstances be treated humanely and shall not be subjected to violence to life and person (including murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture), nor to outrages upon personal dignity (including humiliating and degrading treatment), whenever such individuals are in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States.
(b)Interrogation Techniques and Interrogation-Related Treatment.Effective immediately, an individual in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, in any armed conflict, shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2–22.3 (Manual)… Nothing in this section shall preclude the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other Federal law enforcement agencies, from continuing to use authorized, non-coercive techniques of interrogation that are designed to elicit voluntary statements and do not involve the use of force, threats, or promises.
Sec. 4.Prohibition of Certain Detention Facilities, and Red Cross Access to Detained Individuals.
(a)CIA Detention.The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.”
January 22, 2009; Executive Order No: 13491, Signed by President Barack Obama
The sweeping powers accorded to the military and other national defense-related agencies under the guise of the War on Terror should be curtailed. Johnson wants an end to the practice of indefinite detention of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay; instead, these detainees should be tried under a civil or military court and there should be a complete end to interrogations involving either physical or psychological torture.