This weekend, former CIA director Michael Hayden said that if Donald Trump becomes the next commander-in-chief, the military may have to reject some of his orders. That's because Trump has threatened to bring back the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture in interrogations and to kill the families of terrorists, both actions which have been condemned by international law—and the military has the right to refuse orders that break the law.
That's the latest development in an election season where GOP candidates—in an effort to look and sound tough—have escalated their foreign policy threats to dangerous levels, says Charles Sennott, veteran reporter and head of The GroundTruth Project.
"One wants to out-talk the other for toughness and that means killing civilians, and that means including—as Trump says—their families," Sennot said.
"All five of these Republican candidates agree on torture...against the more reasoned approaches that have come out of the military and intelligence communities in this country," he continued.
Sennott said that recklessness has spilled over into the debate over immigration policy, where GOP candidates have staked out very exclusive positions on the issue—and that could send a scary message to neighbors and allies in Europe.
"People particularly in Europe watch with great horror, as they're seeing the rise of the right in Europe, they're worried that there is somehow also this rise of an anti-immigrant right in America," he said.
Sennott flagged Trump's language about Mexican and Muslim immigrants, in particular, as being worrisome.
"The things Donald Trump is saying about this resonate so deeply with people not just concerned with immigration policy—it spills over into racism," he said.
Charles Sennott is the head of The GroundTruth Project. To hear more from Sennott, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.