Just when it seemed that Donald Trump had an attack of morality and realized that torture is a baaaaad idea, he declared that if he became president, terrorists should not only expect to get waterboarded–but much worse.
At Thursday night’s debate, Trump doubled down on his earlier vow to bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse” if he became president. When Fox News’ Bret Baier reminded him that torture is illegal, Trump snapped that if terrorists knew they’d get waterboarded or that their families would be killed, they’d think twice about attacking this country. He didn’t appear fazed when Baier told him that former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden believed that most soldiers would not obey such orders–as would be their right, since there is no such thing as obedience to a manifestly illegal order.
Trump seemed to come to his senses hours later. He told The Wall Street Journal that he understood this country is “bound by laws and treaties,” and therefore he will not order our troops to violate them. Apparently it finally dawned on Trump that his push to resume “enhanced interrogation techniques” would mean the resumption of practices that violate every standard of civilized behavior that is known.
Well, that moment of decency lasted for only mere hours. At a rally later on Friday in Warren, Michigan; Trump reversed himself for the third time in 24 hours and declared that he will make America torture again. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Trump ridiculed Ted Cruz for not being willing to give a firm answer on waterboarding. He harrumphed that terrorists were “allowed to chop off the heads of people, including ourselves, but we’re not allowed to waterboard.” For that reason, Trump suspects that the jihadists must think “we’re the dumbest, weakest people in the world.” He reminded the crowd that while Cruz gave a “minimal” answer, he told the crowd that “waterboarding is absolutely fine, but we should go much further.”
What is more telling is the crowd’s reaction. They roared in approval–much as they did the night before. Think about it. A significant sector of the American people sees nothing wrong with throwing the Geneva Conventions in the dumpster. If possible, that’s even scarier than the prospect of a president openly declaring that he will bring back torture and throw the Geneva Conventions in the dumpster.