Donald Trump is casting aside any doubt about his position on torture: He's in favor of it because "we have to beat the savages."Yea, see. This is wrong on a number of points.
Trump vowed on Friday that he would never instruct the military to break the law -- appearing to flip on his previous promise to bring back waterboarding and more severe forms of torture. But on Saturday he said repeatedly, during a rally and a late-night news conference, that he would seek to "broaden" the laws to allow torture, including but not limited to waterboarding.
First, torture is illegal already. Starting from the Universal Declaration of Human rights, we read Article 5:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.And then from the UN Convention Against Torture (ratified by the US Senate a few decades ago) we read from Article 1:
For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.And then Article 3:
- Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
- No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
- An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.
It's amazing to me how our friends on the right have spent the better part of 7 years screeching about how Obama's ruling by fiat or governing outside the law but these same people cheer passionately when Donald Trump says he's OK with the torture.
Or when he says that in order for "America to be great again" we have to act just a little more like the terrorists. They're cutting heads off so we should be able to torture.
Nancy Reagan passed away this weekend. We should be reminded that her husband is the one who signed the UN Convention Against Torture. Do you really think Ronald Reagan would agree with Trump on Torture?
Would they waterboard in Reagan's Shining City On The Hill?