Video: Donald Trump Says the US Military Will Commit War Crimes for Him
There were plenty of comical moments in last night’s Republican debate; Marco Rubio and Donald Trump calling each other “little Marco” and “big Donald” was one memorable example, reminiscent of a grade school argument between spoiled children.
But the video clip above shows a moment that was actually more in the “horrifying” category. When Fox News’ Bret Baier asked Donald Trump about his plans to torture prisoners and kill the families of ISIS members, his response was a flat out endorsement of war crimes, unprecedented in US politics.
Baier brought up a statement signed by many military leaders saying they would refuse to carry out any such orders. Trump responded by boasting that he’s “a leader,” and if he tells the military to commit war crimes, they’ll do it — implying that he’d actually force them if they refused.
This is a look at one of the most disturbing authoritarians ever to get within shouting distance of the presidency, folks. He’s blithely proposing to turn the United States into a rogue pariah nation. And his call for torture is not contingent on whether it actually works; he’s stated that he’d torture prisoners just because “they deserve” it.
In some ways, Trump’s social policies are more moderate than the rest of the GOP field’s. But this kind of wildly irresponsible appeal to the most bloodthirsty, extreme elements of the right wing sets him apart, and must disqualify him from ever being elected president. If this egomaniacal narcissist ever achieves the most powerful political office in the world, it will be a very dark day for the United States.
BAIER: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable. General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, NSA director, and other experts have said that when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists’ families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.
So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?
TRUMP: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.
BAIER: But they’re illegal.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you look at the Middle East. They’re chopping off heads. They’re chopping off the heads of Christians and anybody else that happens to be in the way. They’re drowning people in steel cages. And he — now we’re talking about waterboarding.
This really started with Ted, a question was asked of Ted last — two debates ago about waterboarding. And Ted was, you know, having a hard time with that question, to be totally honest with you. They then came to me, what do you think of waterboarding? I said it’s fine. And if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger, too, because, frankly…
… that’s the way I feel. Can you imagine — can you imagine these people, these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we’re having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That’s my opinion.
BAIER: But targeting terrorists’ families?
TRUMP: And — and — and — I’m a leader. I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.
BAIER: Even targeting terrorists’ families?
TRUMP: Well, look, you know, when a family flies into the World Trade Center, a man flies into the World Trade Center, and his family gets sent back to where they were going — and I think most of you know where they went — and, by the way, it wasn’t Iraq — but they went back to a certain territory, they knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening.
They left two days early, with respect to the World Trade Center, and they went back to where they went, and they watched their husband on television flying into the World Trade Center, flying into the Pentagon, and probably trying to fly into the White House, except we had some very, very brave souls on that third plane. All right?
BAIER: Senator Cruz, you were mentioned.
TRUMP: I have no problem with it.
And now Trump is walking this back: Trump: ‘I will not order a military officer to disobey the law’.
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Friday that he would not order the military to break international laws, despite calling for torture of suspected terrorists and the killing of their families.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal he would “use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies. I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.”
“I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities,” he added.
But which statement are we supposed to believe? Trump has repeated his desire to torture prisoners many times. If I have to judge whether I believe his walk-back or the things he’s said over and over, I’m going with the things he’s said over and over. His “repudiation” means less than nothing. The guy simply can’t be trusted to keep his word on anything.