Stop clapping; torture is wrong

Kent Bush, The Daily Record Newswire

Permit me a few hundred words to teach you the primary lesson of Kent University. I don’t mean the fine institute of higher education in the United Kingdom or even Kent State University in Ohio.

Kent University is like Trump University, but instead of stealing your money and ripping you off, I am going to teach you a very valuable truth.

Come along for the ride. It’s free. I’ll give you a full refund if you aren’t convinced that you can go make the world a better place after you graduate.

The lesson is simple. Torture doesn’t make you strong.

In fact, some of the weakest and most pathetic people to ever exist utilize torture to achieve whatever they desire.

On Feb. 26, in a building less than 30 minutes from my home, Donald John Trump rallied Oklahomans – or “Oaklahomans” if you saw his website’s publicity for the event. He even had our illustrious governor in attendance as an example of how poorly Oklahomans use their voting rights. Oklahomans know that earthquake swarms are random and unexplainable, and there is no way you can say that massive income tax cuts have caused any portion of the state’s current $1.3 billion budget hole.

These are the people who would believe that anything Trump says could be true. After he rounds up 12 million illegal immigrants and catapults them over his $12 billion border wall, he will repeal and replace Obamacare, repeal the First Amendment and make the Second Amendment the new first amendment and issue every child an assault weapon at their kindergarten graduation.

Don’t look at me. People are believing this stuff. The guy goes further off the deep end every time he speaks and his poll numbers only go up.

But I digress. Back to our lesson.

Trump asked the throng of true believers, “Can you imagine ISIS watching our dialogue on waterboarding? They must think we are weak and stupid.”

What Trump fails to understand — well, one of many things he doesn’t understand — is that torture is an act of the weak and stupid. It is also illegal in the United States. As the Department of Defense manual states, “No person in the custody or under the control of DOD, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, in accordance with, and as defined in, U.S. law.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford reiterated this position that is unpopular with would-be war criminal Trump and those who applaud his illegal assertions.

“One of the things that makes me proud to represent this uniform is that we represent the values of the American people,” General Dunford said, “When our young men and women go to war, they go with our values.”

Apparently “our values” are not shared by Trump or the 8,000 people in attendance at his rally in Oklahoma City who cheered their candidate’s sponsorship of waterboarding and things that are one or two degrees worse.

“Torture fails to make us safe, but it certainly makes us less free,” said New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler.

Senator John McCain knows about torture. He spent years of his life being tortured in Vietnam. I’m sure everyone remembers that Trump said McCain wasn’t a war hero since he got caught.

That is another thing about which Trump is wrong.

McCain called waterboarding torture.

“Its use was shameful and unnecessary; and, contrary to assertions made by some of its defenders and as the Committee’s report makes clear, it produced little useful intelligence to help us track down the perpetrators of 9/11 or prevent new attacks and atrocities,” McCain said.

We live in a civilized society. We make the rules. We play by the rules. We are better people than those who attack us and we will ultimately prevail.

We don’t need torture to accomplish that.

Psychiatrist Carl Jung described Trump and his angry throng pretty well.

“The healthy man does not torture others — generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers,” he said.

To argue for torture as an intelligence gathering method is akin to saying prostitution simply makes dating more predictable and slavery really helps the economy.

It is a weak-minded, immoral and ineffective practice used by bullies who lash out due to frustration of being incapable to accomplish their goals through honorable methods.

Unlike the people who paid $36,000 and got nothing but a photo of themselves with a cardboard cutout of Trump, you just completed the first course at Kent University. It is a much better deal and learning these lessons could produce a better world in which our children can live.


Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at