Major General Paul Eaton on Countdown: “We have one standard. No torture, period. No exceptions.”

EATON: When Human Rights First gathered all these retired generals, it was an effort to educate America. Educate the United States that torture is bad. It’s bad for the Army, it’s bad for America, it’s bad for our standing in the world.

OLBERMANN: General Eaton, specifically about torture and specifically in that subject about its repudiation, one of your colleagues, General Fred Haynes said that the president-elect should make that repudiation, should begin, at least, in the inaugural address. Do you share his sense of urgency on that point, and if so, why?

EATON: Well, General Haynes is a national hero. What he went through in World War II was the clearest example of: treat your prisoners right, high payoff. And to get the wording in the inaugural speech would be a very quick, very high payoff repudiation of the past practice, and, “I am President Obama and this is what I stand for. These are my values, these are America’s values.”

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EATON: We have one standard. No torture, period. No exceptions. Otherwise, you dilute the standard and you lower the standard, and then that creates a real problem in understanding what the president wants, all the way down to the youngest private. With respect to your other part-taking a look at how we got here-we are a very forward-looking organization. But we believe that an examination of the past would be helpful. How did we get here?

We had one of the retired generals liken it to a class A or a serious accident investigation where you are not looking for culpability, you are looking for how did that accident happen? How did it unfold? And when we know that path, we’ll be better prepared to deal with future wars and future challenges.

Read the rest of the transcript here.


Published on December 5, 2008


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