Donald Trump, sadist, says we have to “take out” families of terrorists

Donald Trump’s sadist foreign policy continues.

It wasn’t enough for him to endorse waterboarding, then it wasn’t enough for him to call for torturing prisoners. He’s jazzed crowds up by saying we have to “bomb the hell out of” the Islamic State (while also saying that we can sit back and wait for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, backed by Vladmir Putin, to defeat them?). And now, he wants to go after terrorists’ families.

From TalkingPointsMemo:

Asked how he could prevent civilian casualties while carrying out his plan to “bomb the hell” out of the Islamic State terrorist group, the Republican presidential frontrunner said America was “fighting a very politically correct war” and needed to focus on neutralizing the associates of terrorists.

“When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” Trump said. “They care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”

Given the fact that he was on Fox and Friends, Trump wasn’t asked any of the rather obvious followups: Isn’t “politically correct” just another way of saying “moral” in the context of war? Won’t killing civilians provoke retaliatory action and generate more recruits for terrorist organizations?

What if terrorists’ family members are American citizens? Would a President Trump authorize drone strikes on Muslims’ homes if they were related to someone fighting for the Islamic State? It sounds nuts, but again, Trump’s given us no reason to believe he’d rule it out.

It’s worth noting that Trump’s cravenly sadist foreign policy — borne out of the fact that he doesn’t know the first thing about counterterrorism and is substituting his lack of knowledge by projecting as much “alpha” as possible — has given Ted Cruz a rare opening to safely draw a contrast with Trump. He’s bear-hugged Trump on pretty much everything, from immigration to taxes to Iran, but if he wants to be more than Trump’s eventual running mate, he’ll have to prove to Trump’s supporters that he can give them Trump’s extremism without the completely unelectable insanity.

The question of “Should the United States take its detention policy back to the Middle Ages?” seems like a safe way to do so. As he told the Associated Press this week, “There is a reason the bad guys engage in torture. ISIS engages in torture. Iran engages in torture. America does not need to torture to protect ourselves.”

As Greg Sargent pointed out this morning, Cruz can take this position while still insisting that waterboarding — the buzzword at the core of this issue — doesn’t count as torture. Either way, simply saying that torture is bad is enough to contrast him with Trump, who is of the opinion that torture is in fact good — even if it isn’t effective in producing actionable intelligence.

In other words, Cruz is making a bet that voters will walk right up to the sadism line, but aren’t willing to cross it. One would think it’d be a safe bet, but given this GOP electorate I’m not so sure.

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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13 Responses to “Donald Trump, sadist, says we have to “take out” families of terrorists”

  1. Badgerite says:

    I guess it depends on what one’s definition of “great” is? This neo-con group of chicken hawks keeps trying to emulate the WWII generation. But they simply don’t measure up. And this is a different fight. This is NOT World War II. Or even the cold war. This is a war against extremism. In all it’s murderous forms. Ideological and religious.

  2. HandsomeMrToad says:

    That’s right, Remember who encouraged him to run in the first place: Bill Clinton.

  3. BillFromPA says:

    The more outrageous Trump gets, the more I think he’s actually working to undermine the GOP chances in the Pres election to aid the Dems. If he gets the nomination the repugs get clocked, down ballot too. Even if he loses he’s already forced the Wizards in the GOP from behind their curtain. Their repulsive ‘policies’ at one time were hidden from the electorate at large and only communicated to the faithful by winks and nods. Trump has forced them to state in plain English what they would do in various situations, fatal to the GOP.

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  6. kuvasz says:

    Pablo Escobar’s modus operandi against his Colombian competitors.

  7. BeccaM says:

    For Trumpy, the words “inexcusably offensive” simply don’t exist, at least not with respect to anything he thinks or does. By his own definition, everything he does is perfect.

    He’s come right out and said he doesn’t want to torture prisoners because they might have vital information — which the last Republican administration kept claiming they did, and that it wasn’t actually torture — but simply for the evil joy of inflicting horrific suffering. For no reason other than bloody vengeance.

    And still his supporters do not recoil in horror. Which to my mind is indicative as to just how morally depraved much of the Republican party has become.

  8. BeccaM says:

    We’re (finally) now properly labeling right-wing radical Christianist terrorism for what it it, with that Dear guy in Colorado.

    Given Trump is totally cool with torture and now, with this latest verbal diarrheic atrocity, advocating for the murder of the families of alleged terrorists — including children and babies — can we at least ensure he never gets to call himself pro-life without being laughed out of the room?

    As for the sadism of the American voters, we learned in 2012 that the GOP has openly embraced it, with their own audiences cheering the idea of sick Americans dying for lack of health insurance. What Trump is doing is merely proving just how sadistic and awful much of his chosen party has become. They won’t just walk up to and cross that line of simple human decency — they’re actively trying to erase it.

    Honestly, I’m not convinced Trump’s insanity makes him unelectable, as he is a reflection of a deep moral sickness in America itself, where so many aren’t aware that even with a supposedly sane Democratic leader in the White House, the campaigns of indiscriminate drone strikes which are murdering innocent civilians are happening anyway.

  9. nicho says:

    I go back to my theory of the billionaire — or multimillionaire — with no brakes on him. He’s carefully rid himself of anyone who will try to tell him no. So, he says or does something stupid, but it gets traction among the more stupid. Then, he raises it to the next level, and so on and so on. It’s becomes like a drug.

    It’s like Michael Jackson. At the end, there was no one who could tell him that he was turning himself into a physical freak and that the drug he was taking was beyond dangerous, despite its very pleasant aspects. No one could say “Hey, Michael, we need to talk. Stop it.”

    I think Trump is in the same place. He saying and doing stupid things, but he’d getting feedback, and it energizes him.

  10. nicho says:

    Of course Obama has no problem taking out an American citizen — a teenager — who was merely a family member of someone who wrote something we didn’t like. And I’m sure Hillary had a cackle or two over it too.

  11. LanceThruster says:

    I’d be satisfied with just jailing the bakers who committed economic terrorism on our Republic, Donald, but if you think taking out their families as well is an essential tactical position, who am I to argue?


  12. goulo says:

    Cripes, I start to wonder if Trump is simply massively trolling people for some bizarre reason. I start to imagine him one day coming clean and saying to his supporters “Surprise! I was just testing you all, to see if anyone would object to the most outrageous hateful rhetoric I could think of to say, and sadly you all fail as decent human beings.”

    It’s sad and scary to think that he could be sincerely saying insane shit like proposals to kill the families of terrorists. And even sadder and scarier that apparently lots of US citizens think this sounds great.

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