During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump declared he would “immediately” resume waterboarding and would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” because the United States is facing a “barbaric” enemy. He labeled waterboarding a “minor form” of interrogation.
Waterboarding, which involves pouring water into the nose and mouth to make victims feel like they’re drowning, has long been considered torture, which is a war crime under US and international law. Indeed, the United States hung Japanese military leaders for waterboarding as a war crime after World War II.
Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s new Secretary of Defense, opposes torture because it doesn’t work.
Trump told The New York Times that when he asked Mattis what the general thought of waterboarding, Mattis replied, “I’ve never found it to be useful. I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.”