Donald Trump comes out as pro-torture

Yesterday, I wrote that Donald Trump’s endorsement of waterboarding was more worrisome than past Republicans’ endorsement of the policy because he didn’t rely on semantics to make his point. While Republican politicians usually justify the practice by insisting that it isn’t torture, Trump merely said that it was fine because it’s “peanuts compared to what [the Islamic State would] do to us.” In other words, the acceptability of interrogation techniques, regardless of the semantics surrounding whether they could be classified as “torture,” is relative: If we think our enemies could or would do it, then it’s fine.

Donald Trump, screenshot via YouTube

Donald Trump, screenshot via YouTube

I wrote that one of the reporters on the Donald Trump beat should follow up with the creeping fascist to ask whether his justification for waterboarding meant that he would support other forms of torture. As it turns out, they didn’t even need to ask. Last night, Donald Trump went a step beyond endorsing waterboarding, saying that he’d “approve more than that” as president.

Said Trump, to a crowd of supporters at a rally, “Don’t kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.” I guess scientists and interrogation experts are pretty stupid, then.

Not that it matters. As he continued, “Believe me, it works. And you know what? If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing. It works.”

As the Washington Post reported:

Trump said such techniques are needed to confront terrorists who “chop off our young people’s heads” and “build these iron cages, and they’ll put 20 people in them and they drop them in the ocean for 15 minutes and pull them up 15 minutes later.”

To be clear, beheading and drowning prisoners doesn’t make them talk. It does the opposite of that. But at this point I think Donald Trump owes us a follow-up on whether, as president, he’d endorse beheading and drowning prisoners who don’t provide us with actionable intelligence. There seems to be a reasonable chance that he would say yes (excuse me, “wouldn’t rule it out”).

To recap, Donald Trump doesn’t care whether waterboarding is officially classified as torture because he’d be more than willing to approve torture techniques as president. And he’d do so not because of some “ticking time bomb” scenario, or because the intel we’d gather from such techniques would be legitimate, but as a means of proportionate revenge. In other words, Trump is pro-torture simply for the sake of satisfaction.

And his supporters are loving it, endorsing out-and-out sadism as foreign policy.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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14 Responses to “Donald Trump comes out as pro-torture”

  1. Badgerite says:

    Is he really so dense that he has no concept of the recruiting tool the actions he supports would be to Islamic extremists? God, what a boob.

  2. Sheryl Peterson says:

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  5. ComradeRutherford says:

    With the GOP, it’s ‘peace – never again.’

    As the Onion said when Bush II was appointed by the SCOTUS, “At long last, or long national nightmare of peace and prosperity are finally over.”

  6. ComradeRutherford says:

    America has been pro torture for a long time. Trump is making it an official part of the GOP political platform … and no one is objecting.

  7. nicho says:

    The veneer of civilization is very thin. Trump is finding there is no downside to scraping it all off.

  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    Trump is just following the precedents set by Reagan, Clinton, the Bushes and Obama.

    From Wiki ““In the United States, the first well-known rendition case was that of an airline hijacker abducted in Italy and brought to the U.S. for trial, authorized by President Ronald Reagan. President Bill Clinton authorized extraordinary rendition to nations known to practice torture, called torture by proxy. The administration of President George W. Bush, “renditioned” hundreds of so-called “illegal combatants” (often never charged with any crime) for torture by proxy, and to US controlled sites for an extensive, advanced interrogation operation program under the euphemism enhanced interrogation. Extraordinary rendition continued with reduced frequency in the Obama administration…”

    ”Extraordinary rendition remains a clear violation of international law. The United Nations considers one nation abducting the citizens of another a crime against humanity. …. In July 2014 the European Court of Human Rights condemned the government of Poland for participating in CIA extraordinary rendition, ordering Poland to pay restitution to men who had been abducted, taken to a CIA black site in Poland, and tortured. Overall, 54 countries are known to have been involved with US extraordinary renditions.”

    In fact, terrorism, torture and murder have always a been part of the US military’s arsenal.

  9. Quilla says:

    Disgusted by the media’s love-fest with this deranged clown. Trump would be talking to bobble-heads in a vacuum were it not for tv idiots who clog my world with his every freaking word like it came from the mount.

    Please, someone, point out that Trump is this close to a strait-jacket and should be put in a padded room for OUR safety.

  10. nicho says:

    One problem with being a billionaire is that you have been surrounded with “yes men” for so long that there is no one there to tell you to stop. We saw that with Michael Jackson. No one could tell him that he was turning himself into a freak. No one could tell him to stop using propofol. I’m guessing it’s been a long time since anyone told Trump anything he didn’t want to hear, and now he lives solely in the echo chamber of his own mind. And with no one saying he’s gone too far, he goes further and further.

  11. MoonDragon says:

    Okay, one more reason to despise The Donald. He’s gonna make me quote Hall and Oates.

    “It’s so easy to hurt others when you can’t feel pain.”

    The man has been insulated from the consequences of his actions for his entire life: by his father’s money, by bankruptcy laws that protect corporate vultures at the expense of the people whose money they use for gambling, by a press who’ve come too late to the game and let him get away with vile pronouncements because they were good for ratings (and he’s just a clown, anyway.)

    The saddest part is that he truly represents the dark streak in so many Americans. He’s a self important narcissist, with an puerile need for instant gratification, an enormous sense of entitlement, zero empathy, and an infantile dependence on violent outbursts to bully others to achieve his ends.

    He’s Daesh’s preferred candidate.

  12. Indigo says:

    They tried to gloss it over, der Trumpenfuhrer just puts it out there with an extra dollop of defiance.

  13. BeccaM says:

    And I thought Nixon, Regan, and Dubya were bad… So much for “never again.”

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