Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon and conservative activist who is considering a run for president in 2016, said on Monday that there should be few or no restrictions on how America fights its wars.
"And our military needs to know that they're not going to be prosecuted when they come back because somebody has said you did something that was politically incorrect," he said.
"There's no such thing as a politically correct war. We need to grow up. We need to mature. If you're going to have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war. Other than that, we have to win. Our life depends on it."
Carson did not specify what he meant by "politically incorrect" behavior.
He has said that he will make an announcement about whether he is running for president in the spring.
The U.S. is bound by the Geneva Conventions, which governs the way that signatories can treat captured enemy soldiers during wartime or while occupying a country. The conventions also require that states have laws that can be used to punish people who violate the standards.
Carson's comments come not long after a report from Senate Democrats found that the U.S. engaged in torture after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Though some on the left have called for the operatives who participated in those programs to be prosecuted, the Obama administration has been resistant to that idea.