Why Trump (Probably) Won’t Bring Back Waterboarding

Torture is supposed to be my beat, but I’ve been neglecting it a bit of late to work on other issues. So, I’ve decided to churn out quite a bit of material about it this month, before Trump’s inauguration. This is the first installment, looking at the likelihood (or lack thereof) that the president-elect will reinstate “enhanced interrogation techniques”. An excerpt:

“With Trump’s national security team now in place, we are in a better position to consider his administration’s likely approach to interrogation. Bottom line: don’t panic, because the CIA probably won’t relaunch its torture program anytime soon.

The New York Times ran an interesting story earlier this week showing that Trump’s pick for Secretary of Defense, retired General James Mattis, has a long record of opposing torture. Mattis had already told Trump, at a meeting last December, that he never found waterboarding to be “useful”. And now, thanks to the Times, we learn that Mattis had cracked down on prisoner abuse while serving as a Marine commander in Iraq from 2003.

This could further complicate Trump’s campaign proposals to bring back enhanced interrogation techniques. Given what we know about Mattis’ views, and his tendency to speak his mind, it is hard to imagine him sitting idly by while the US again goes down the waterboarding route. But he might not have to protest, as the president-elect’s enthusiasm for torture seems to have dimmed anyway…”

Read the rest here

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