(Reuters) - A group of 19 retired U.S. generals and admirals on Thursday backed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's position on the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo and torture and called for an end to the "dangerous rhetoric" from her Republican opponents.
"The Republican candidates have turned this into a game to see who can seem toughest. Yet, how we combat our enemies and defeat ISIS is not a game, and these proposals would only make us weaker," the retired officers said in a statement, using an acronym for Islamic State, the militant group active in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Republican candidates have opposed an Obama administration plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Republican front-runner and real estate mogul Donald Trump said this month he would bring back waterboarding, widely condemned as a form of torture, and would be open to even tougher measures in the fight against Islamic State.
Clinton was secretary of state during President Barack Obama's first term, when he banned the use of torture. She has supported the closing of the Guantanamo prison for terrorism suspects, which Obama says has become a recruiting tool for militant groups fighting the United States and its allies around the globe.
The retired officers said expanding the use of Guantanamo "is dangerous and has real negative consequences for our national security."
Expanding the use of torture, they said, would compromise global U.S. leadership and put American troops and civilians at risk.
"We applaud Hillary Clinton's leadership on these issues and call on the immediate end to the dangerous rhetoric coming from the right," the retired officers said.
(Reporting by Washington newsroom)