Donald Trump still loves torture

Originally published at:


It’s good to see he’s maintaining some campaign positions.


I wonder if Trump would still be in favor of waterboarding if he himself had ever been waterboarded.

Maybe we need John McCain and/or others to call Trump out a coward for being too scared to experience the procedure under controlled circumstances before ordering its use against prisoners.


Maybe he would.


It’s safe to assume he’ll pursue anything terrible and drop anything sane that the bobbleheads on camera and off use to say “well maybe we should give him more time…”

They’ll be saying that after he leaves office. History will absolve him!

I wouldn’t count on McCain for that, any more than I’d count on the GOP Congress to temper the new President’s worst excesses. There’s a different sort of cowardice at work there. That’s why we have to start preparing for the 2018 mid-terms now.

Besides, this huckster would probably use it as a promotional opportunity for his branded bottled tap water.


I daresay Trump has some affection for waterboarding because its continued use by the USA while repeatedly claiming that it isn’t torture (in the face of all evidence and common sense) is exactly the kind of post-truth politics that he so perfectly embodies.


So does this mean General Mattis would refuse to carry out instructions from his commander-in-chief to allow torture since that would amount to following illegal orders?


My apologies, I have a wicked hangover.


It just dawned on me, these guys don’t see torture as a means of interrogation.

They see it as a punishment.


Now they only have to find ways of monetising that attitude, like the for-profit prison industry did with a similar approach to incarceration. Fortunately, it’s not like a reality TV star could come up with such a pla … oh.


Wouldn’t matter. Mattis is nominated for Secretary of Defense. It was the CIA that did the waterboarding.

But even that doesn’t matter. Trump already said he will not give an illegal order. The law (which was only passed last year) would need to be changed first.

In reality, he will probably do what President Obama is doing: Drone some, and have our Arab allies retain custody and then interrogate others. People are always fine with torture when someone else is doing it for them.

It’s an important distinction. The Bill of Rights itself only opposes torture for punishment, but not interrogation. Lincoln’s famous General Order 100 included an opposition to torture but explicitly said, “for confessions.” They always understood that desperate times may come.

But I don’t see Trump doing this for punishment. This is just talk. As it is, some critics still pretend that the current Army Field Manual allows some forms of torture just as it is. Some say that forced feeding to keep someone alive is torture. It’s all a matter of where someone draws the line, and that usually depends on the day of the week, as well as the party in power.


The Army was responsible for quite a bit of the torture at Abu Ghraib. Also, the “Behavioral Science Consultation Team” and other groups responsible for torture at Guantanamo Bay fall under the Department of Defense.


Yes and no, but not as big a deal as you might think. As I said in my other post, it’s a matter of where you draw the line.

Some of what people say is “torture” is just a notch up the scale from what they’re still permitted to do under President Obama. Some of it isn’t even up that scale at all, and is available today, although it may require specific authorization.

There will never be an end to charges of torture by any U.S. administration. Someone will always say that something is “torture.”

You seem dismissive of the idea that the Secretary of Defense has a significant impact on the nation’s policy toward torture. I disagree, which is why I supported the ACLU’s attempt to hold Donald Rumsfeld accountable for the horrors that went down on his watch.


It’s a fundraising stunt. Nothing more. It’s about as useful as that “recount” fundraising stunt currently underway. You’d be better off giving your money to some panhandling drunk. He certainly deserves it more.

Rumsfeld had responsibility for what he authorized. He was also responsible for anything his soldiers were doing without accountability. The trouble there is, there was accountability. The guards at Abu Ghraib had already been charged by the Army, and were pending trials before you’d even heard of the incidents.

You can, of course, go after Rumsfeld for what he’d authorized. But some of that is still permitted today. Maybe you’d better look again at that Behavioral Science Consultation Team article. I don’t think white noise and taking away of comfort items is going to get too much sympathy from the majority of Americans. And from the looks of things, Europeans might not even care about it much longer.

tl;dr: if the bomb really is ticking, and you’re almost out of time, torture won’t help. If the bomb is not ticking, you have plenty of time and there’s no "need’ to torture, and you’ll end up doing bad things for bad reasons.


It’s almost as if we shouldn’t break the law on what is permitted!

Perhaps we should make the law more restrictive instead of tolerating “breaking a few rules” in order to what, not get any more information but get a few cruel persons’ rocks off and get the right wing hard?


Sure, if you think “a slap on the wrist for a handful of low-level military folks but no punishment whatsoever for higher ranking officers or military contractors” counts as “accountability.”