Tag Archives: water-boarding

50. Trump, Torture, and Aging Inhibition

11 Mar

Former President Ronald Reagan sent the following to the U.S. Senate:

“… I transmit herewith the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Convention was adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984 … The United States signed it on April 18, 1988.”

All the GOP candidates and most other Republicans revere President Reagan. He, John McCain, most national leaders, the United Nations, a group of 43 retired U.S. Generals, and developed countries all over the world accept the prohibition of torture.

But Donald Trump, who would love to punch out rally protesters, thinks torture is desirable. Although he is energetic and talks really fast, this, and many other strange positions makes me wonder if, at the age of 69, some critical brain cells have deteriorated.  He is well into the range at which Alzheimer’s  can begin.

As I pondered Trump’s strange utterances, I remembered some research on aging and inhibition.  An internet search revealed several relevant medical and psychological studies.  Recent scientific research has shown that older people often lose their ability to inhibit speaking socially unacceptable ideas.  An example of one such study is:   https://www2.psy.uq.edu.au/~uqwvonhi/vH&D.P&A.05.pdf.     (with many good references).  Although Trump can be excused for what he says under pressure, sad-to-say, it does reflect what he is actually thinking.  I also think that being extremely rich his entire life has shielded him from the realities that most of us have suffered — especially minority groups.  To really understand this, when Trump was confronted about his early family support, he remarked that it was only a “small loan” of a million dollars from his father.


47. A Republican Policy of Revenge

6 Mar

According to a Republican candidate, it is important for our agents to use serious torture in interrogating possible terrorists. We must do this to get revenge for the beheading of our citizens that were kidnaped by ISIS.  Of course ISIS would claim that they are getting revenge for what we did to Muslim captives at the Abu Ghraib prison. (More gruesome photos of this were just released.)

So we must think up tortures even more horrible than beheadings if we want discourage them and teach them a lesson. And when they find out what we are doing, they will make a real effort to capture more Westerners and do things that are even worse. I am sure we will end up with public whippings or worse by both parties, and the newspapers will be filled with horrible pictures of what we have done to terrorists and people only suspected of being terrorists. And because in some cases, family members of terrorists had some involvement, we must also torture them.

I wonder how the people of more peaceful nations would feel about this escalation of brutality. Maybe they would not want to have alliances with us or trade with us. Or, they might not even send tourists here because if they were arrested for some minor offense, they might be subject to horrific interrogations.

So an escalating “tit for tat” will be the new policy, with each side devising more horrid procedures in an attempt to intimidate the other side. This will take the place of President Obama’s ridiculous plan to do the right thing, set high ethical standards, and follow widely accepted international laws.  And completely ignored is the general finding that advanced interrogations without torture are more effective.