GOP contenders argue on Afghanistan, Iran, torture

November 13, 2011 • National News

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts, speaks at the CBS News/National Journal foreign policy debate at the Benjamin Johnson Arena, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Spartanburg, S.C. Romney says that if President Barack Obama wins a second term, Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Unsparing in their criticism of President Barack Obama, Republican presidential hopefuls disagreed in campaign debate Saturday night about the right course in Afghanistan, the use of waterboarding and the wisdom of a pre-emptive military strike to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.

“If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon,” vowed the former Massachusetts governor.

On waterboarding, Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann both said they would reinstate the technique designed to simulate drowning. Cain went one step further, adding that he would leave it up to military leaders — rather than their civilian superiors — to decide what forms of interrogation amount to torture, which he said he opposes.

As for the war in Afghanistan, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas both said it was time for U.S. troops to come home after a combat mission of 10 years duration.

While the Republicans were talking about foreign policy, Obama was on the world stage, as America’s diplomat in chief.

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