I like to pride myself on being fairly rational when it comes to how I deal with news, politics, and how I process information. I’m not going to claim that there aren’t times where I get emotional (for example…), but I do my best to be as level-headed as possible when forming my opinion on something. Rarely do I ever see or hear something that actually stuns me for a moment.
Well, that happened on Friday when I read an article on Talking Points Memo concerning Donald Trump’s comments on torture:
When asked about his stance on torture during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said that he differs with his Defense Secretary James Mattis on the use of waterboarding, seeming to define the act as torture.
“We have a great general who has just been appointed secretary of defense, General James Mattis,” Trump said. “He has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding or however you want to define it, enhanced interrogation, I guess would be words that a lot of people like to use. I don’t necessarily agree.”
Trump said that though he may feel that waterboarding is effective, he will defer to Mattis to make decisions on that matter.
“I would tell you he will override because I am giving him that power. He is an expert. He is highly respected,” Trump said.
“So I’m going to rely on him,” he continued. “I happen to feel that it does work. I have been open about that for a long period of time. But I am going with our leaders. And we’re going to win with or without. But, I do disagree.”
Here was Trump, a draft-dodger with absolutely zero experience or knowledge on military tactics or strategy, saying he knows more about torture than a retired Marine general.
I’m sure some will point to this as an example of Trump “trusting experts who disagree with him,” but that’s not what this is. When he appointed Mattis, he knew the former general opposed torture. This was Trump pandering to his base (many of whom are part of a bloodthirsty bunch that loves sadistic torture), while acting if he’s “making tough decisions.” Though I wouldn’t be shocked if Mattis told him that he wouldn’t accept the position if Trump was going to allow torture.
Another key issue I feel is important to this whole story came out a few weeks ago when reports surfaced that Mattis was already clashing with Trump when it came to Pentagon staffing. There was talk that Mattis grew “suspicious of the transition” team as he rejected many of the people Trump wanted placed under his command as Secretary of Defense.
If these reports are to be believed, it seems Mattis has made it very clear that he is going to run the Pentagon the way he wants it to be run. Which makes me believe (though this is just my opinion) that torture was likely an issue that Mattis wasn’t going to budge on, and if Trump insisted on it, he could very well walk away — which would have been a huge embarrassment for “The Donald.”
I would also like to point out a fairly big issue that the media also doesn’t seem to care much about. That is, we have a man some are calling President of the United States openly admitting that he supports torture. The United States loses any and all right to say we’re the “greatest nation on Earth,” or operate from any claim of moral authority over anybody, if the person in charge of the country admits that he supports barbaric, inhumane war crimes.
I don’t believe that I’m reaching in criticizing this. Just because so many other things Trump says or does seem to be worse, doesn’t mean that these comments aren’t a huge deal.
This was the “President of the United States” openly saying he supports torture (a war crime) and, even though he’s going to delegate the decision on this issue to Mattis, he disagrees with the former Marine general concerning the effectiveness of the draconian act of torturing human beings for information.
He didn’t say that he initially thought torture was effective, but Mattis factually informed him otherwise, which is why he changed his mind. Had he said that, then I’d give him credit for admitting he was wrong and changing his mind based on facts from a military expert.
Once again, Trump refused to admit he’s wrong. Instead, he said the decision will be left to Mattis (at least for now), but he disagrees with a man who served in the Marines for 44 years and he still believes that torture works.
This is another example where Donald Trump says things without providing anything factual to support what he’s saying. Only this time he basically said that, while he’s going to let a 44-year veteran and former Marine General James Mattis make the final decision, he apparently feels that he knows more about the effectiveness of torture than this highly decorated and immensely respected military expert does.
Donald Trump is a mentally unhinged egomaniac whose insecurity and incompetence currently amount to one of this country’s top national security threats.