Donald Trump has made it clear, that he is pro-torture.

As written in Trump claims torture works but experts warn of its 'potentially existential' costs:

Donald Trump has used his first TV interview as president to say he believes torture “absolutely” works and that the US should “fight fire with fire.”

If they bring back any form of torture to interrogate suspects, would they be breaching the United Nations Convention against Torture since the United States is one of five permanent members on the UN Security Council?

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    Why the down vote? All feedback is welcome to help me improve. Jan 27, 2017 at 12:07
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    -1: Donald Trump did not claim to be pro torture. He is pro water boarding though; this continues the concept that 'enhanced interrogation' methods are not torture, failing to meet the "severe pain or suffering' as required by the Conventions. Your premise misrepresents his position. wsj.com/video/trump-discusses-isis-obamacare-and-waterboarding/… Jan 30, 2017 at 0:01
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    @DrunkCynic, FactCheck.org cites a 2/17/16 quote inconsistent with that alleged position: "Torture works. OK, folks? You know, I have these guys—”Torture doesn’t work!”—believe me, it works. And waterboarding is your minor form. Some people say it’s not actually torture. Let’s assume it is. But they asked me the question: What do you think of waterboarding? Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding."
    – agc
    Jan 30, 2017 at 17:27
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    @DrunkCynic, cont. since DT himself is willing to assume waterboarding is torture, and he is pro-waterboarding, therefore by his own words he must be pro-torture. The OPs premise is correct.
    – agc
    Jan 30, 2017 at 17:31

2 Answers 2


What the Convention Says

The Convention Against Torture is an international treaty which is administered by the United Nations. The convention defines torture as any act which intentionally causes pain or suffering for the purposes of obtaining information or compelling actions (Part I, Article I, 1).

It is still torture (and this against the convention) even if national laws (Part I, Article I, 2) or superior officers or other authorities call for it (Part I, Article II, 3). Additionally, it is still torture (and against the convention) regardless what circumstances exist (Part I, Article II, 2). That is to say that torture is still illegal when an war or during other emergencies.

Is it Applicable to the US?

Yes. The United States is one of the parties, having ratified it in 1994.

Would the US Be Breaching the Convention?

Yes, since:

  1. We are a state party to the convention, which means it applies to us.
  2. The convention forbids torture under all circumstances.
  3. We would be performing torture under the definition of the convention.


The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.

and the convention defines torture very well, they can only try the same thing Bush did (saying that waterboarding e.g. is just "advanced interrogation" and not torture). But since so many people, media and non governmental organizations are watching US right now I think they would get into trouble making the use of torture a thing again.

A very good (but kinda long) article about the reinterpretations of the Bush administration can be found here

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    Is the convention limited to the treatment of soldiers acting at the direction of their government (and possibly further limited by that government being a participant in the convention), or does it also apply to combatants not acting under the color of a (recognized or participating) government? Also, much of the wording is about using the information obtained to punish the prisoner or use it in a trial. It isn't clear whether other uses of information obtained this way are prohibited (e.g., stopping other terrorist attacks).
    – user11810
    Jan 31, 2017 at 22:22
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    @fixer1234 - the "enemy non-combatant" is pretty much a made-up term that isn't recognized, except as cover for circumventing both international and domestic laws. In any case, the Geneva Conventions, which also prohibit torture, govern the actions of nations in a state of war. UN Conventions are broader. There is no circumstance or loophole where torture is explicitly allowed, given all the conventions and laws that are in effect. Why you torture someone (i.e. what you are going to do with the information) is not a consideration in banning the use. Feb 2, 2017 at 15:52
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    @fixer1234 - The treaty applies to anyone, civilian or military. So a civilian waterboarding a soldier is still torture, as is a soldier waterboarding a civilian. Feb 2, 2017 at 16:48

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