Archived Opinion

Time for a little torture, a la Trump?

op trumpStephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist

Good news, fellow citizens.  It’s only a matter of time before we can all sleep easily, comfortable in the knowledge that we will never be bombed in our homes or at Little League games. Candidate Trump’s chances of winning the presidency increase everyday, and it seems only a matter of time before he is making rational decisions for all of us, before our lives are in his hands.

Trump has many ideas to make America great again — a top contender being the wall on our border with Mexico. This is, of course, an excellent idea since it is impossible for people to scale, tunnel under, break through, or just go around a wall.   

Even Jon Snow, formerly of the Night’s Watch, would attest to the fact that a 700-foot high wall of solid ice is off-putting to all but the most intrepid climbers. And though our Southern deserts would hardly support a wall of ice, a wall of concrete 700 feet high and 2,000 miles long would probably get the job done. What could be easier?

But even more comforting is Trump’s resolution to bring back torture to keep our America safe. This is potentially his best idea yet. Some of you naysayers might argue that torture doesn’t work, but you would indeed be wrong. Trump said, “Believe me, it works,” and that’s all we need to know.   

But for those still included to doubt, historical precedent also provides examples of the effectiveness of torture. For instance, from the Original Sources of European History in Six Volumes, we have the 1628 confession of Johannes Junius, Burgomeister of Bamberg, Germany. His interrogators had learned that the mayor was a danger to the community and that he knew the names of others who were bent on destruction. 

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As one might expect with hardened criminals such as Junius, questioning alone produced only protests of innocence and ignorance. Eventually, though, with the use of torture, even the Burgomeister came clean. 

Junius held out when his interrogator crushed his fingers in a specially designed vice called a thumbscrew. But, as Trump would have so wisely advised, when the thumbscrew produced nothing but blood running out from under his fingernails, the interrogation team upped the ante a bit and opted for the strappado. 

It almost didn’t work. The interrogation team tied Junius’ hands behind him, throwing the rope over a beam in the ceiling and then hoisting him up to hang around for a while (possibly with weights on his feet) before dropping him. They tried this eight times but Junius was incorrigible.  

However, even in the 1600s, the Germans knew something about torture, and during a break, one of the men begged Junius to confess because the torture would only escalate until he did.   

Thankfully for us all, it worked.  Junius confessed.  And when his interrogators demanded that he name the conspirators living on each street in town, he eventually complied (with a little extra persuasion from the strappado), coming up with the names of at least 15 other people.

Burgomeister Junius and his accomplices burned at the stake for witchcraft, and over a couple centuries’ time, thanks to enhanced interrogation techniques, western Europeans were able to cleanse their states not only of Johannes Junius but also of 80,000-100,000 other witches. The European community was undoubtedly safer as a result. As Trump said, torture works. 

And who knows to what heights we might be able to hoist our American torture repertoire once Trump is in office. Trump said that “waterboarding is fine, but it’s not nearly tough enough,” and we definitely want to be able to increase pressure on non-white people. 

As real Americans, we can draw on the many effective means of torture in our western European heritage, from thumbscrews and strappadoes to leg vices. Our ultra-white ancestors also put oil or other flammable substances on the feet of terrorists and then lit them on fire, or put the guilty on the rack to be stretched out, sometimes while being burned. But we don’t want to be limited by our collective past, and as we work to integrate torture back into standard operating procedure, we can assume that the other nations of the world will follow our enlightened example. Perhaps our returning POW’s can share some of their torture experiences from other countries and we can gradually expand our repertoire.

It’s going to be great. No doubt, once Trump is president, we will lead the world in enhanced interrogation techniques, and thanks to his leadership, we’ll be able to sleep well at night — safe and guilt-free.  

(Wampler can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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