Donald Trump pledges to reinstate waterboarding of terror suspects

Published: Monday 7th March 2016 by The News Editor

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Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he would push to change laws that prohibit waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods, arguing that banning them puts the US at a strategic disadvantage against Islamic State.

During the past week, in a series of interviews and events, Mr Trump has articulated a loose but expansive set of principles that would mark a fundamental shift in US foreign policy from the limits put in place by Democratic President Barack Obama and the Republican-led Congress.

As well as arguing in favour of reinstating waterboarding, a technique that mimics the sensation of drowning, and “much more than that”, Mr Trump has advocated the killing of suspected terrorists’ wives and children, which appears in violation of international law.

“We have to play the game the way they’re playing the game,” Mr Trump said in an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation, the day after he told an audience in Florida that he would fight to expand the laws that regulate interrogation.

“I would like to strengthen the laws so that we can better compete.”

His comments come as the US continues its uphill battle against IS militants across the Middle East. Mr Trump has repeatedly pointed to the tactics used by the group, including public beheadings and drownings in locked cages, as evidence that the US needs to dramatically escalate the tactics it uses.

Pressed on why he believed waterboarding had been banned, Mr Trump said: “Because I think we’re weak – I think we’ve become very weak and ineffective. I think that’s why we’re not beating Isis. It’s that mentality.”

“Isn’t that what separates us from the savages?” the programme’s host John Dickerson asked.

“No, I don’t think so,” answered Mr Trump. “No, we have to beat the savages.”

“We have to play the game the way they’re playing the game. You’re not going to win if we’re soft and … they have no rules,” he said.

Mr Trump was speaking as Marco Rubio won Puerto Rico’s Republican presidential primary election, with supporters saying he would help lift the island out of its long economic slump.

“The numbers are overwhelming,” said Jenniffer Gonzalez, chairwoman of Puerto Rico’s Republican Party. “This primary in Puerto Rico … will demonstrate that the Hispanic vote is important.”

Mr Rubio seems likely to finish with more than half of the vote and get all 20 delegates determined by the primary. If no-one finishes with more than 50%, the 20 delegates would be divided proportionately among candidates who received at least 20%. The territory’s three super-delegates have committed to Mr Rubio.

Residents of the US island, which is struggling through a decade-long economic stagnation, cannot vote in the general election in November but can take part in the party primaries.

The result came after Ted Cruz and Mr Trump each captured two victories in a four-state round of voting in the Republican race for the White House.

Mr Cruz, a Texas senator, claimed Kansas and Maine, and declared it “a manifestation of a real shift in momentum”.

Billionaire Mr Trump took Louisiana and Kentucky.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won in Nebraska and Kansas, while frontrunner Hillary Clinton took Louisiana.

Published: Monday 7th March 2016 by The News Editor

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