Democracy Has Prevailed.

June 30, 2016

Shame on Trump for Advocating Torture. Shame on His Supporters For Agreeing With Him

From NBC this week:
Donald Trump on Tuesday prescribed fighting "fire with fire" when it comes to battling terrorism, seemingly making the case for using similarly brutal tactics as terror groups like ISIS have in the past.

The GOP's presumptive nominee has been outspoken on enhanced interrogation, telling Tuesday's enthusiastic crowd once again that he doesn't think waterboarding is "tough enough" and that it's "peanuts" compared to what terrorists have done in the past. Trump lamented being limited by laws when fighting terror, allowing that waterboarding is "not the nicest thing," but advocating for its use when "the enemy" is "chopping off people's heads."
And from The Guardian:
Trump also renewed his praise of waterboarding, which was banned by the Bush administration in 2006 as both potentially illegal and ineffective. “What do you think about waterboarding?” Trump asked the crowd. They cheered as he gave his answer: “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough.”
Let me first correct The Guardian.  This is what Bush did in 2006:
President Bush said Saturday he vetoed legislation that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods such as waterboarding to break suspected terrorists because it would end practices that have prevented attacks.

"The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror," Bush said in his weekly radio address taped for broadcast Saturday. "So today I vetoed it," Bush said.
According to ABC, the CIA banned it (with quiet White House approval) sometime later:
The controversial interrogation technique known as waterboarding, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex, has been banned by CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, current and former CIA officials tell (Image above is an ABC News graphic.)

The officials say Hayden made the decision at the recommendation of his deputy, Steve Kappes, and received approval from the White House to remove waterboarding from the list of approved interrogation techniques first authorized by a presidential finding in 2002.
So Bush authorized the torture then vetoed a ban and then quietly OKed the CIA's abandonment of it.

That's a little different from what The Guardian said.

In any case, it was illegal all along.  From ABC, again:
The practice of waterboarding has been branded as "torture" by human rights groups and a number of leading U.S. officials, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., because it amounted to a "mock execution."
But that was 2007.  What does McCain think now?

The same.
"It's not the United States of America. It's not what we are all about. It's not what we are," the Arizona lawmaker and former prisoner of war in North Vietnam said to applause at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington on Wednesday.

At a rally Tuesday in Ohio, Trump reiterated his praise for using waterboarding -- banned by the Bush administration -- as an effective tool to fight terror just hours after the attack that left dozens of people dead. "I like it a lot. I don't think it's tough enough," said Trump, adding that the tactic was "peanuts compared to many alternatives."

McCain noted at the event that waterboarding is considered a war crime according to the Geneva conventions, "But perhaps more important than that, if you're not into academics and history is it doesn't work ... Because if you inflict enough pain on someone they will tell you whatever they think you want to hear."
Shame on Donald J. Trump for advocating a war crime.  And shame on his supporters in Ohio (and nationwide) who agree with him.

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