Daniel DePetris takes on Trump’s flip-flopping on torture:
The question has been consistent throughout the campaign, but his answers have been all over the map.
The same could be said about his answers to many other questions, but Trump’s tendency to be “all over the map” on something as important as this reflects much of what’s wrong with his candidacy. His answers show that he doesn’t understand the issue or the implications of supporting the use of torture at first. As DePetris reminds us, he appeared not to know that the use of torture would violate the law. Then he backtracked and said that he would follow the law, but wanted to “broaden” the law (i.e., make it more permissive with respect to the use of torture). Trump has also repeatedly justified support for immoral and abusive tactics by citing even worse atrocities committed by jihadists, and it seems clear that he sees torture simply as a form of retribution and punishment that he thinks should be inflicted on detainees. When all is said and done, Trump takes an unabashedly pro-torture position. It doesn’t worry him that torture is a monstrous, degrading evil, and he doesn’t care that it is something that no civilized nation should accept. Like many other hawks, he wants to demonstrate his supposed “toughness” by boasting about the outrageous behavior he will approve. I wrote last week that a candidate’s “good instincts” are no substitute for knowledge or experience. On this issue, Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about and he has horrible instincts.