On CNN's "News Day" Monday morning, CNN military analyst and retired three-star Lt. General Mark Hertling battled with Al Baldasaro, a Republican in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, over Donald Trump's promise to ramp up torture tactics in defiance of the Geneva Conventions.
Though taking a decidedly pro-torture stance ("a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding," as he's repeated as recently as last Thursday), Trump backtracked when 100 Pentagon and national security officials signed a joint statement condemning Donald's "inexcusable" embrace of international law-defying torture methods.
In a campaign statement issued last week, Trump softened his rhetoric slightly, saying, "I do ... understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters."
"When I hear him talk about torture ... he never said he was gonna break the law," Baldasaro said. "What they're saying is, basically, they're cutting off heads." The admitted Trump supporter then cited the President Obama-sanctioned 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, which claimed the lives of several of bin Laden's family members.
"All indicators are that torture does not work," Hertling rebutted. "It's used by individuals to generate revenge or frustration or oppose authority, but it does not generate information. There are much better ways to get information through proper interrogation techniques."
Hertling noted Trump's assertion during Thursday's debate that the military will, essentially, do anything he says, regardless of legality, calling it "toxic leadership."
"Someone needs to remind Mr. Trump that the military is not his palace guards," Hertling added. "They take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic ... They also abide by the UN mandate against torture and the Geneva Convention protocols against torture."
Baldasaro — like Trump, he said — could not refute Hertling for lack of access to information, but said he supports Trump because the GOP frontrunner would enlist a council of generals to "explain to him what the rules are."
To this, Hertling reminded Baldasaro that Trump "named two names of generals, one of which wasn't general, that he's watched on TV. The other one was a general and it was the wrong name."
Hertling suggested Trump "take some people under his advisement and listen to them," adding that he should "be a little bit more humble in his approach. And maybe be a little more empathetic as opposed to proclaiming that he has all the answers."
With respect to how Trump's torture advocacy is viewed internationally, Hertling concluded, "This is not helping our cause in the fight against terrorism."
Watch in full below: