Retired Military Leaders: Torture is Counterproductive, Unreliable, Immoral and Illegal

Washington, D.C. – Three dozen of the nation’s most respected retired Admirals and Generals today issued a public statement denouncing torture and urging the U.S. to uphold detainee treatment standards outlined in the time-tested Army Field Manual. The statement, distributed on the Hill, comes just days before the first anniversary of Seal Team Six’s Osama bin Laden operation anniversary and as Jose Rodriguez, former Director of the National Clandestine Service of the CIA, plans to issue a book claiming torture led to the former al-Qaeda leader. “We have learned firsthand the value of adhering to the Geneva Conventions and practicing what we preach on the international stage,” notes the statement. “There are those that have argued that the current threat of terrorism has changed the paradigm, and we have to change our ways. We have heard that argument before, during the Second World War and in Vietnam, but we have been far more steadfast in the past in keeping faith with our national commitment to the rule of law.” Among those signing today’s statement are members of a non-partisan group of retired Generals and Admirals that works with Human Rights First. Members of the group stood behind President Obama on his second day in office when he signed the Executive Order to end torture and close CIA secret sites, and they continue to advocate for these goals, meeting with politicians across the political spectrum to educate them on these important subjects. “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. Discounting the Manual’s wisdom on this central point shows a disturbing disregard for the decades of hard-won knowledge of the professional American military.”


Published on April 25, 2012


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