Washington, D.C.—In response to reports that the President Trump may sign executive orders impacting the United States’ torture, rendition, and detention programs, Human Rights First has issued the following statements:
General Charles C. Krulak (ret.), former commandant of the Marine Corps:
“President Trump’s consideration of a revival of torture does little to change the fact that it is illegal, harms our national security, and betrays our American ideals. Furthermore, if President Trump believes that torturing individuals makes our country more safe, that isn’t just an alternative fact, he’s living in an alternative reality. The use of torture is a grave threat to our national security. It puts our troops in danger, makes cooperation with allies more difficult, and is a propaganda boon for extremists intent on harming the United States.”
General Krulak was one of 176 retired flag officers—including 33 four-star generals and admirals—who sent a letter to President Trump urging him to reject the use of torture.
Major General Michael R. Lehnert (ret.), first commanding officer at Guantanamo Bay:
“As the first commanding officer at Guantanamo Bay, I know that Guantanamo’s continued existence hurts us in our prosecution of the fight against terrorists, and only feeds into the narrative that the United States is not a nation of laws nor one that respects human rights. President Trump could demonstrate that he is serious about national security by closing Guantanamo.”
Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First:
“America paid a high price for its trip to the dark side—our allies grew reluctant to cooperate with us, and our enemies gained a potent recruitment tool that drew foreign fighters to the battlefield who killed American soldiers. That’s why bipartisan majorities in Congress have outlawed going back to torture and secret detention and dozens of retired military and intelligence leaders have warned against it. It’s counterproductive, dangerous, and wrong.”