Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Donald Trump, the "going beyond torture" candidate for President.
Whenever I think about torture, I turn to the late author Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens approved the U.S./U.K. invasion of Iraq, which by no means makes him a hero among peace activists or sane human beings in general. But in 2008, Hitchens earned a few notches in my book by putting himself through the "waterboarding experiment." Here is what he wrote in an article for Vanity Fair:
You may have read by now the official lie about [waterboarding], which is that it "simulates" the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning -- or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure.
Our next potential president -- the so-called leader of the "free world" and proponent of human rights loves the idea of drowning people to death. This is disturbing. The media would never say it, but Trump is acting like ISIS.
I can only imagine the number of Americans who support Trump's call for torture. I do not have a precise number, but I can guess the number is too high, too high, especially among Republicans. Trump and his supporters often rant about "keeping America safe" and "defending the homeland and our allies," which (to be fair) is all good and fine, but who is to say that torture is in-line with "American values"?
George Washington, the first President of the U.S., would not agree with Trump or his gang on the issue of waterboarding. In a letter dated September 14, 1775 to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Washington ordered his soldiers to treat British prisoners of war "with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren who have fallen into their hands."
As Commander-in-Chief, Washington refused to lower himself to the wretched actions of his British enemies. He commanded Americans to behave with compassion and justice. It is a far, far cry from Trump, who would use torture with a sense of pride, like he was doing something enjoyable or heroic.
Washington is rolling over in his grave.
And how about Prophet Muhammad? Many Americans (Trump among them) likely associate Muhammad with violence, terrorism, intolerance, and other horrific things, but he, like Washington, rose above the barbarism of torture.
The Prophet of Islam stated: "Prisoners should live in comfort. Muslims should care more for the comfort of their prisoners than for their own." The key word here is comfort. What a lovely term. According to Muhammad, members of the ummah, or Muslim nation, must rise above inhumanity, even in the most extreme cases like war. Muslims are never to lower their standards to that of their enemies. Just as Americans were told by Washington.
Surely, this may sound crazy to many Americans, but it is true: Trump could learn a thing or two about humanity from the Prophet.
Consider another passage from Muhammad: "If a Muslim commits the sin of ill-treating a prisoner of war, atonement is to be made by releasing the prisoner without ransom." The Prophet was so insistent on treating prisoners of war with respect and dignity that he demanded Muslims to treat them as they would want to be treated. You see, Muhammad was a follower and believer in Jesus Christ, who centuries earlier called on Christians to "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you." Ironically, Trump calls himself a "Christian," even though he loves cruelty far too much for anybody to take his "Christian identity" seriously.
Do you see where I am going with all of this?
Trump wants to use torture. ISIS already uses torture.
Washington did not want to use torture. Neither did Prophet Muhammad.
Trump is like ISIS, and vice versa.
Washington is like Muhammad, and vice versa.