General Taguba Supports Truth Commission: “You can’t sweep unlawful activities under the table”

Our friend retired Major General Tony Taguba in an interview with Salon.com called for a nonpartisan fact-finding commission to provide some degree of accountability for misguided and illegal U.S. detention and interrogation policies. General Taguba would like to see a broad mandate for the commission, including a study of administration claims that abuse gleans good intelligence, which he fervently disputes. He has a particular interest in getting to the bottom of civilian leaders’ claims for the legality of the administration’s interrogation and detention policies.

Some of those that were tortured were innocent. How do we come to terms with those that were cruelly mistreated and were innocent, never charged, were illegally detained and never compensated for their suffering? This is not a political issue, but a moral and ethical dilemma which has far-reaching implications.

You can’t sweep unlawful activities under the table and just forget about it. I feel strongly about this because we have future generations who will be the beneficiaries of these actions. We have a president who declared that torture is illegal. He signed executive orders repudiating torture and unlawful interrogation practices.

We have a lot of unanswered questions on accountability, questions that need to be answered and hold responsible officials — civilians and military — accountable. These include contractors. We ought not to refer to accountability as a bumper sticker or to be used loosely. We have an integrity issue to contend with if we are to prevent this matter from recurring.

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Published on February 23, 2009

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