Retired Military Leader Says Torture Has No Place in Successful National Security Strategy

Washington, D.C. – Today, in response to news reports that Presidential Nominee Romney’s advisors have urged him to adopt a pro-torture position, General Charles C. Krulak, USMC (Ret.) issued the following statement: “Governor Romney must reject the dangerous advice of his campaign advisers. Torture is illegal, immoral, and undermines both our national security and the order and discipline of our armed forces. Discounting the Army Field Manual’s wisdom on this central point – as the Romney campaign memo advocates – demonstrates a disturbing disregard for the decades of hard-won knowledge of the professional American military.” General Krulak, who is currently serving as President of Birmingham Southern College in Alabama, and three dozen of the nation’s most respected retired Admirals and Generals issued a public statement denouncing torture and urging the United States to uphold detainee treatment standards outlined in the time-tested Army Field Manual. The statement said, “We fully support current law that bans torture and designates the Army Field Manual as the single standard for interrogation across all agencies,” note the Admirals and Generals. “We reject calls for a secret annex of interrogation tactics.  The Army Field Manual was the product of decades of experience – experience that has shown, among other things, that torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment produces unreliable results and often impedes further intelligence collection.” In November 2011, during the Republican primary, General Krulak and 19 other retired admirals and generals sent each of the Republican nominees seeking the Presidency a letter cautioning them against the use of torture. In it, the retired military leaders decried the use of torture and so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” as undermining national security and U.S. moral standing, and as a violation of both U.S. and international law. The letter noted, “We believe that to secure our nation, the United States must always lead by our core principles; that means the United States must never engage in torture or abuse.” General Krulak is part of a larger nonpartisan group of retired generals and admirals who speak out against torture and work to ensure that U.S. policy reflects a single standard of prisoner treatment consistent with the Geneva Conventions.  The group worked closely with Senator McCain in 2005 to pass the Detainee Treatment Act which reinforced the ban on torture and other cruel and degrading treatment, and established the Army Field Manual as the single standard of interrogation for all prisoners in DOD custody.  In 2008 they shared their insights with eight Presidential candidates from both parties that torture does immense harm to the reputation of the United States, and undermines efforts to combat terrorism.


Published on September 27, 2012


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