Citing the beheading of James Foley as an example of how Islamic State treats American prisoners, Donald Trump told ABC’s This Week that he would “absolutely” bring back waterboarding as an accepted interrogation technique.
Trump’s wide-ranging discussion covered several issues, including the surveillance of mosques and what to do about people on the terrorist watch list.
Trump characterized waterboarding as a form of “strong interrogation” that is “peanuts” when compared to tactics used by ISIS against its hostages.
“I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us,” the Republican presidential candidate said. “What they’re doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head, that’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.”
The technique of waterboarding involves putting a cloth over a subject’s face and pouring water over the cloth, which causes the sensation of drowning. The form of enhanced interrogation was utilized by the CIA to interrogate some terrorist suspects in the wake of the September 11th attacks and has been defined as torture by the United Nations.
Trump also said he does not want to close any mosques in the United States but he does want to put them under surveillance. He previously said it may be necessary to close some mosques if it is determined “bad things are happening” in them.
When asked if he wants blanket surveillance across all the nation’s mosques, Trump said “strong measures” are necessary.
“The people that are involved in those mosques, they know who the bad ones are and they know who the good ones are, but they don’t talk,” he said. “We have to surveil the mosques.”
Trump also said those on terror watch lists should be restricted from purchasing guns if they are a known “enemy of state.” Currently, someone one a terror watch list can legally purchase a gun in the U.S.
“If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely,” Trump said, while emphasizing that he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.
“If we have an enemy of state, I don’t want to give him anything,” Trump said. “I want to have him in jail — that’s what I want. I want to have him in jail.”
Trump’s idea to deny gun permits to people on the terrorist watch list is a good one. In fact, you have to wonder why Mr. Gun Control, President Obama, hasn’t signed some sort of executive order mandating it. Perhaps he doesn’t think it would be worth his time. He wants to take millions of guns away, not a couple of thousand.
With waterboarding, it just seem the more Trump overturns conventional wisdom and morality, the more popular he gets. I’m sure it’s a phenomenon that will be studied for years by political scientists after Trump exits the stage.