Thursday 19 September 2019

Trump vows return to waterboarding to tackle terrorism

Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Birmingham, Alabama
Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Birmingham, Alabama

Jesse Hamilton

Donald Trump says he would return to strong interrogation techniques such as waterboarding if he were elected US president because their severity pales against Isil.

"You know, they don't use waterboarding over there; they use chopping off people's heads," Trump said in a TV interview.

Waterboarding - a method of torture in which water is poured over the face of an immobilised prisoner to simulate drowning - is "peanuts" compared with that, Trump says. He said he "would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation".

Ben Carson, trailing four percentage points behind leading Republican candidate Trump in the latest national poll, declined to say whether he'd favour waterboarding, during an appearance on the same programme.

"I'm not one who is real big on telling the enemy what we're going to do and what we're not going to do," Carson said.

However, Trump seemed to back away from earlier comments that were taken as support for a US government registry of Muslims, saying he wants a database for refugees coming into the country from Syria.

"When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don't know if they're Isis, we don't know if it's a Trojan horse," Trump said. "And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances."

The billionaire New York real-estate developer also argued for a programme to monitor activity at US mosques.

"I don't want to close mosques; I want to surveil mosques," he said. Without what he called "strong measures," he warned, "you're going to see buildings coming down all over New York City and elsewhere."

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, also agreed with heavy monitoring of those with the most potential of leaning toward terrorism, saying "there's no such thing as political correctness when you're fighting an enemy who wants to destroy you and everything that you have anything to do with".

"We should monitor anything - mosques, church, school, you know, shopping centres - where there is a lot of radicalisation going on," Carson said.

Irish Independent

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