Trump says anti-torture laws put US at disadvantage

Trump’s comments come as the US continues its fight against ISIS militants across the Middle East

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Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says that, as president, he would push to change laws that prohibit waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, arguing that banning them puts the US at a strategic disadvantage against ISIS militants.

During the past week, in a series of interviews and events, Trump has articulated a loose, but expansive set of principles that, if enacted, would mark a fundamental shift in the way the US fights violent extremism put in place by the Obama administration.

In addition to arguing in favor of reinstating waterboarding, a technique that mimics the sensation of drowning, and “much more than that,” Trump has advocated the killing of militants’ wives and children, which appears in violation of international law.

“We have to play the game the way they’re playing the game,” Trump said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, one day after he told an audience in Florida that he would fight to expand and broaden the laws that regulate interrogation.

“I would like to strengthen the laws,” he added Sunday, “so that we can better compete.”

Trump’s comments come as the US continues its fight against ISIS militants across the Middle East. Trump has repeatedly pointed to the tactics used by the group, including public beheadings and drownings in locked cages, as evidence that the US needs to dramatically escalate the tactics it uses.

During a press conference Saturday in West Palm Beach, Florida to mark his election wins, Trump refused, however, to articulate specifically which techniques he would like to see added, despite repeated questions. Instead, he said: “It’s very hard to be successful in beating someone when your rules are very soft and their rules are unlimited, they have unlimited, they can do whatever they want to do.”

Pressed Sunday on why he believed waterboarding had been banned, Trump said the U.S. was being “weak” by not employing the militants’ tactics.

“Because I think we’re a weak —I think we’ve become very weak and ineffective. I think that’s why we’re not beating ISIS. It’s that mentality,” he said.

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