04 March 2016

Running for gangster-in-chief

Donald Trump, answering a question at last night's debate:

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?

They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me.

But they're illegal.

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 ...

APPLAUSE

... 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.

But targeting terrorists' families?

APPLAUSE

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.

Even targeting terrorists' families?

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?

APPLAUSE

Let's review:

  • Trump expects his orders as President to be followed without question, without regard for law
  • This reflects his understanding of “leadership” because of his essential qualities as a “leader”
  • He plans to order waterboarding and worse forms of torture
  • He plans to intimidate people by murdering their families
  • This bloodthirstiness distinguishes him as a better candidate for President than Ted Cruz
  • A Republican debate audience applauds this

He imagines the Presidency he seeks as like being a mafia capo, fighting the “animals” in the Middle East by ordering his obedient minions to commit brutality.

May the gods have mercy on these United States, though I gather that the American god is not merciful but just.

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