Top US general quizzed on Trump's torture pledges

2016-02-25 22:43


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Washington - A US lawmaker on Thursday quizzed the American military's top general on whether he supported Donald Trump's pledges to torture terror suspects and "take out" their families.

Trump, who is the front-runner to win the Republican presidential nomination, has made a series of controversial remarks about America's struggle with the Islamic State group and other jihadists.

Last week, he told a crowd in South Carolina that "waterboarding is fine, but it's not nearly tough enough", and last year he said that as president, he would order the United States to "take out" the families of terror suspects.

Speaking at a House Appropriations Committee meeting, the Democrats' Betty McCollum asked General Joe Dunford, the Pentagon's chair of the joint chiefs of staff, what he thought of Trump's "rants".

"He says he will use torture to help defeat ISIL, including things way beyond waterboarding," McCollum said, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State group.

"He says he will order our military to take out the families of Islamic terrorists. I presume that means directing the secretary of defence and the chair of the joint chiefs of staff to use men and women under your military command to intentionally kill innocent family members including children."

But Defence Secretary Ash Carter interjected before Dunford could answer, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on such matters.

"This is an election year," Carter said. "I feel very strongly that our department needs to stand apart from the electoral season."

Nonetheless, Dunford said he was proud to be in uniform because it represents "the values of the American people".

"I'm assuming the values of the American people do not include torture," McCollum said.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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