America has become very weak, ineffective, says Trump
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"Look, we have an enemy in the Middle East that's chopping off heads and drowning people in massive steel cages, OK?" Trump told CBS on Sunday.
"We have an enemy that does not play by the laws. You could say laws, and they are laughing. They are laughing at us right now. I would like to strengthen the laws so that we can better compete," he noted.
Trump, who had previously supported using torture for interrogation purposes, retracted his remarks on Friday, saying he would not force the military to breach the law if he is elected president.
On Sunday, however, he once again changed his words, saying at a minimum he wants to allow waterboarding, because lack of using torture signals Washington’s weakness.
"I think we've become very weak and ineffective. I think that's why we're not beating ISIS (ISIL). It's that mentality," the real estate mogul explained.
The US needs to be stronger when fighting an enemy who "chops off heads," he added.
Speaking about the possible consequences of employing torture against terrorists, including harsher treatment of American hostages, the former reality TV star said that American soldiers are already being killed when they are captured.
Trump had earlier promised to do things that were a “hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding to terrorist suspects, and also to authorize the military to kill family members of terrorists.
His statements drew condemnation from former cabinet members, lawmakers as well as military and legal experts, some of whom denounced him as "utterly unfitted to the office" of president.
Retired General Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA and CIA, said in February that the US armed forces would likely refuse to follow certain orders from Trump if he becomes commander-in-chief.