President-elect Donald Trump has backed off of one of the most controversial pledges of his campaign today, his promise to bring back torture of detainees, saying following a talk with retired Gen. James Mattis that he was told torture doesn’t work as well as building a rapport with prisoners.
During the primaries, Trump emphasized his belief that the US needed to bring back waterboarding and “worse” tactics to better compete with ISIS’ own brutality. At the time, he dismissed arguments torture didn’t work on the grounds that the people being tortured “deserve it.” He also called the US ban on torture a “sign of weakness.”
Though it did not figure prominently in the general election campaign, Trump was still seen to be favoring torture as part of his war plan, to the extent that Human Rights Watch was expressing concern about Trump’s intentions after the election.
Gen. Mattis, who is seen as a front-runner for Secretary of Defense, told Trump that in his experience torture and abuse didn’t work well, and that he’d do better with “a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers.” Trump cited this conversation in his statement today backing away from torture.
Assuming Trump remains swayed on the matter, this is extremely good news for America’s future human rights record, and also may bolster Mattis’ candidacy for the Defense Secretary post. Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) and others have expressed opposition to a return to torture, and being the man who talked Trump out of such a return would likely make Mattis’ nomination hearings go smoothly.
10 thoughts on “Trump Backs Off Promise to Bring Back Torture”
Another difference between Trump and Bush/Obama. Here you have someone willing to change his mind. Which shows that unlike the other two, Trump actually has an independent mind and doesn’t come in as an operative with a script/ideology to obey and carry out.
Obama changed his mind by keeping Gitmo open & keeping the Patriot Act.
To name a few.
My prediction is that the far right will be despising this guy before he even gets sworn in as he throws them under the bus on issue after issue. It’s possible the left may be surprised at how he drastically moderates his positions now that he has won.
Remember, Hilary was very very very far from anything approaching liberal or progressive on most issues. Had she won she would have thrown the left under the bus as sure as the sun rises in the east.
It all really depends on who is cabinet, advisors and key appointments look like when it all settles. Expect a very mixed bag.
You judge a man by his ACTIONS – all we have now is WORDS, if that.
Wait and see what Trump DOES. Then judge.
You must also judge them by what they say. Otherwise this whole election process is meaningless.
I personally would prefer a man who knows that torture is wrong on his own.
danites specialize in murder and torture
I can’t stand Trump but bravo for backtracking. Hopefully he keeps his word on Russia.
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