Trump, Carson back use of waterboarding to fight against ISIS.

Trump, Carson Back Use of Waterboarding to Fight Against ISIS

Trump, Carson Back Use of Waterboarding to Fight Against ISIS

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Nov. 22 2015 2:26 PM

Trump, Carson Back Use of Waterboarding to Fight Against ISIS

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson describes how he tried to stab someone when he was a youth as he speaks at the International Church of Las Vegas on November 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Carson is battling Donald Trump for the lead in polls for the Republican presidential nomination.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The two frontrunners in the race to become the Republican candidate for presidents have said they aren’t opposed to bringing back waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques to fight against ISIS. Trump was much more emphatic than Carson in his answer. When ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked the real estate mogul whether he’d bring back waterboarding his answer was clear:

I would bring it back, yes. I would bring it back. I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they’d do to us, what they’re doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head. That’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.

Ben Carson didn’t rule out the use of waterboarding but wasn’t as emphatic about his support for an interrogation technique that has been widely described as torture:

Carson: I agree that there's no such thing as political correctness when you're fighting an enemy who wants to destroy you and everything that you have anything to do with. And I'm not one who is real big on telling the enemy what we're going to do and what we're not going to do.
Stephanopoulos: But you would do that even though many consider waterboarding torture?
Carson: As I said, I'm not real big on telling them what we would or would not do. I just don't think that's a—I don't see where that accomplishes anything for us.

Trump leads Carson in the latest national poll by Washington Post/ABC News poll, with 32 percent support among registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Carson comes in second with 22 percent. A new Fox News poll is largely in line with these numbers, giving Trump a 10-point lead over Carson, 28 percent to 18 percent.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.