Media Round-Up: Executive Orders and Retired Military Leaders
Bloomberg.com: Major General Paul Eaton, told reporters in a conference call yesterday that the Abu Ghraib scandal “immediately undermined me, my moral authority” as he worked in Iraq with eight other nations to build up Iraqi security forces. “It created a far more dangerous environment for every soldier, every marine we had in Iraq,” Eaton said.
(“Hooded Abu Ghraib Inmate Can Step Off That Box Now”)
Guardian: A group of 16 retired admirals and generals, in a meeting organised by Human Rights First, said the move would restore America’s moral authority in the world, and strengthen its national security. “President Obama has rejected the false choice between national security and our ideals,” they said. (“Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’”)
Wall Street Journal: The Bush administration, he said, had posed “a false choice between our safety and our ideals.” Mr. Obama was supported by retired generals and admirals who for years had lobbied to end harsh interrogation measures. Elisa Massimino, executive director of Human Rights First, said Mr. Obama “effectively is tearing down al Qaeda’s prime recruiting poster.” (“Obama Closes Detention Network, President Orders Guantanamo Shut, Sets Up Prisoner Reviews, Bans Secret CIA Prisons”)
Miami Herald: Human Rights First Executive Director Elissa Massimino called the measures “the kind of bold action that is required to repair America’s reputation.”
“The Bush administration’s misguided embrace of indefinite detention, torture and unjust military commissions has greatly damaged America’s international image, fueled terrorist recruitment and undermined international cooperation in counterterrorism.” (“Obama moves to close Guantánamo camps within a year”)
New York Times: John D. Hutson, a retired admiral and law school dean, was at the signing ceremony “He really gets it,” Mr. Hutson said of Mr. Obama in an interview a few minutes after the ceremony. “He acknowledged that this isn’t easy. But he is absolutely dedicated to getting us back on track as a nation. This is the right thing to do morally, diplomatically, militarily and Constitutionally. But it also makes us safer.” (“Obama Orders Secret Prisons and Detention Camps Closed”)
Washington Post: One of the officers, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, said taking the moral high ground on interrogation would help protect U.S. troops in the future. He said the use of torture was “for the lazy, the stupid and the pseudo-tough” and called it a “recruiting tool for terrorists.” (“Obama Reverses Bush Policies On Detention and Interrogation”)
Boston Globe: Obama signed the orders after meeting with 16 retired military officers, who he said pleaded with him to stand up for human rights and American values in combating terrorism. “They made an extraordinary impression on me,” said Obama, as they stood behind him and applauded.
Human Rights First issued a statement on behalf of the retired military officers. “President Obama’s actions today will restore the moral authority and strengthen the national security of the United States. It is vital to the safety of our men and women in uniform that the United States never sanction the use of interrogation methods that we would find unacceptable if inflicted by an enemy against captured Americans.” (“Obama orders Guantanamo Bay closed, bans torture”)
Talk Radio News Service: “There was certainly among us, the sixteen retired generals that were there, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and joy, perhaps, that the country was getting back on track with regards to the issues that we feel so strongly about.” Admiral John D. Hutson (“President Obama’s Guantanamo decisions bring joy to Human Rights Leaders”)
Univision: “Es un gran primer paso, pero es sólo un primer paso”, consideró Gabor Rona, director internacional de Human Rights First. (“Obama firmará orden para cerrar Guantánamo en un año”)
ABC News: Ret. Admiral John Hutson disagrees, calling torture a “method of choice for the lazy, the stupid and the pseudo-tough.”
“It is absolutely clear that the best way to get actionable intelligence is not by the use of harsh interrogation,” Hutson said. “But through other kinds of tactics, rapport-building kind of things.” (“Obama Order to Shut Gitmo, CIA Detention Centers”)