William Cohen, secretary of defense under Bill Clinton, warned of possible war crime trials for American generals if Donald Trump is elected and orders the military to carpet bomb and waterboard terrorists.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday, Cohen said the idea “carpet bombing whole communities in order to get at some of the terrorists” would “contravene our sense of what is expected of a world power.”
Cohen, a former Republican representative and senator said, “I think we have to be very careful in what we are saying to the world. The notion that we would attack and kill the families of terrorists is something that contravenes everything the United States stands for in this world of now disorder.” (RELATED: Former CIA Director Says Military May Disobey Orders From Trump)
Commenting on the possibility of generals refusing to such carpet bombing, Cohen said, “[T]here’s something called Nuremberg that we have to be concerned about, that you have an order given by the commander in chief which violates every sense of law and order, international law and order, that would make any of those who carried out that dictum as such to be a violation of the international criminal code. So I think we have to be very careful of what we’re saying here.”
Amanpour then said, “Do you know, I’m actually getting chills when I hear you say that. I mean, you’re basically — and so is General Hayden and so have others — been basically suggesting that the next President of the United States could order war crimes to be committed. I mean, that is something that blows my mind, Secretary Cohen. I can’t even believe that we’re in this position. Why is the Republican Party not telling the American people what you’ve just told me?”
Cohen replied, “I can’t believe that we’re not speaking out on these issues. The notion that we would encourage torture, I mean, Mr. Trump really demeaned, denigrated John McCain. I am personally involved in that particular discussion because I was the best man at John McCain’s wedding. He is a hero to me. He’s a hero to a lot of people for what he endured during that time in prison.
The notion that America “would authorize the commission of acts of brutality and waterboarding and other forms of torture, to me, is astounding,” Cohen said. “And the notion that this is being put forth as a policy of the United States, I think, causes not only many of the American people to wonder where we’re going but many of our allies wondering what has happened to the leadership of this country.” (RELATED: Trump: ‘I Would Bring Back Waterboarding’ And ‘A Hell Of A Lot Worse’ [VIDEO])
Currently, Trump’s message is “quite dangerous” Cohen said but suggested that Trump “may change the message as he proceeds toward the convention. But if we were to stay with the message I think that many of the American people would find that unacceptable — and should.”