I note that Donald Trump has reiterated his support for Water Boarding in the wake of the Brussels bombings.
His thinking is that as ISIS doesn't respect established international laws with respect to the conduct of armed conflict neither should we. That by us following established norms we give ISIS an unfair advantage. I can see his logic but I do not support it. I do not support it based on the arguments below.
ISIS and the US are not evenly matched, ISIS or Daish despite the carnage they can cause do not represent an existential threat at this point and so we have a choice on whether we do or do not follow our established norms and values.
Given the above any decision to change our approach should be done on a cost benefit basis after considering the potential downside of this approach.- Advertisement -
The fight against Daish is not fought in a vacuum, there are people watching who are leaning towards Daish and people watching who are leaning towards supporting the international community and are looking for an excuse to support either.
All of my training in Counter Insurgency Warfare stressed that one thing insurgents seek is an over-reaction by the security forces and reinstating Water Boarding I regard as such an over-reaction.
Such over-reactions have been repeatedly shown to be major recruiting tools for the insurgency as they undermine our legitimacy and indeed I understand that Donald Trump's comments are already appearing in Daish recruiting videos.- Advertisement -
We know that Daish's strategy is to polarise Muslims and force them to choose Daish in a clash of religions.
I know it is difficult to remain calm in the face of extreme provocations but the ability to react in a calm and measured way in such circumstances is the essence of military discipline.
What we demand of our troops we should expect from a potential U.S. Commander in Chief.