Tags: Barry McCaffrey | Trump | Torture | Position | Shameful

Gen. Barry McCaffrey: Trump's Position on Torture 'Shameful,' Unlawful

(MSNBC)

By    |   Thursday, 26 Jan 2017 01:31 PM

President Donald Trump has taken a "shameful position" when it comes to torture and other extreme measures of interrogation, and using such methods goes against American values and the law, retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey, now a commentator for MSNBC, said Thursday.

"It's against national domestic law," McCaffrey told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle. "It's against international law. It puts our military at risk. I say that as a guy who's son and daughter are both in the armed forces. This is a really shaky position."

He does think Trump has started to "walk back" on his views, through comments that he'll follow advice from cabinet members such as Defense Secretary James Mattis.

"Jim Mattis will never officially tolerate this and I doubt the CIA will either," McCaffrey said.

The matter that torture is even being considered to ferret out terror suspects or in other interrogations is a "disgraceful situation," the retired general told Ruhle. "The United States has a set of national values that we try to live up to, not always, but they are aspirational in nature."

And with Trump publicly espousing the use of extreme interrogation measures, such as waterboarding, that "erodes our standing in the world," said McCaffery.

"We aspire to be a people who live up to the law," said the retired general. "I'm actually appalled."

During President George H.W. Bush's administration, and under then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, enhanced interrogation and torture practices were being used, McCaffery continued, and he thinks "we killed people under our control both in Iraq and Afghanistan, both the agency (CIA) and the U.S. armed forces, so we closed that door, thank God.

"We got an Army manual that says how we deal with detainees under your control. That's what we got to live up to."

McCaffery said, though, that he's reasonably sure extreme interrogation won't be used under Trump, even if he specifically orders the practice to be used.

"I think Secretary Mattis would say 'Mr. President, it's against the law. I can't comply with illegal orders,'" said McCaffery. "I think any CIA agent or military intelligence or NCO would say to himself, 'I'm simply not going to do it. I'll get prosecuted sooner or later.'"

The big problem, though, is the harm Trump's statements do to the United States' international standing, said McCaffery.

McCaffery said he does believe Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo will be able to work with Trump on the issue, however.

"They are both impressive people and stable and adults and experienced," said McCaffrey. "Basically what they will say to themselves, 'how will history deal with me?' We ought to be fortunate we have two people of that character in public office."

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President Donald Trump has taken a "shameful position" when it comes to torture and other extreme measures of interrogation, and using such methods goes against American values and the law, retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey...
Barry McCaffrey, Trump, Torture, Position, Shameful
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2017-31-26
Thursday, 26 Jan 2017 01:31 PM
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