Donald Trump Says He Would ‘Absolutely’ Support Bringing Back Waterboarding
Donald Trump said on Sunday (Nov. 22) that he supports bringing back waterboarding and other "strong interrogation" methods.
"I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us,” Trump told interviewers on ABC's "This Week." "What they're doing to us, that’s a whole different level," he said, citing the assassination of American journalist James Foley. "I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation."
Waterboarding -- which is where a person repeatedly has water poured over their face as a rag covers their nose and mouth, effectively simulating drowning -- has a long and controversial history. It has been condemned by the United Nations as an act of torture, defined as:
[A]ny 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 ... when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official.
This isn't the first time the ethics of waterboarding (and torture in general) has come up recently. President Obama openly denounced the act in 2009, despite the now-infamous comments from former Vice President Dick Cheney that "the way we [The United States] did it" was not torture.
As recently as 2014, UN experts called for public officials who participated in acts of torture -- including waterboarding -- to be prosecuted. "International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture," they wrote. "This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorized these crimes."