GOP Hero Gen. Petraeus Rejects Torture: We Pay ‘a Price’ When Not ‘Living Our Values’

February 21, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Republicans have embraced the use of torture and have engaged in constant fearmongering in their opposition to mirandizing the Christmas-day bomber and the closing of Guantanamo Bay. And former Vice President Dick Cheney has taken his anti-Obama and torture loving campaign on the road to great acclaim by the right wing. Cheney made a surprise appearance at the recent CPAC convention to wild applause, with the crowd chanting, “run, Dick run.” Right-wingers just love the idea of a little sadistic waterboarding. But top military brass, including General David Petraeus Commander of U.S. Central Command, are rejecting the blood-thirsty Cheney crowd and are supportive of President Obama’s anti-torture policies. During an appearance on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Gen. Petraeus who has long been revered by conservatives, declared that torturing prisoners doesn’t work and only serves to embolden the enemy. Petraeus told David Gregory that he believes in the “concept of living our values.”

When Meet the Press host David Gregory asked Gen. Petraeus if the military missed the availability of using torture, now banned by Obama, in the interrogation of the recently captured Taliban leader Abdul Baradar, Petraeus was very clear that he did not support the use of torture:

MR. GREGORY [...] “Presuming that both U.S. forces and Pakistani officials are doing the interrogation, do you wish you had the interrogation methods that were available to you during the Bush administration to get intelligence from a figure like this?”

GEN. PETRAEUS: “I have always been on the record, in fact, since 2003, with the concept of living our values. And I think that whenever we have, perhaps, taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside. We decided early on in the 101st Airborne Division we’re just going to–look, we just said we’d decide to obey the Geneva Convention, to, to move forward with that. That has, I think, stood elements in good stead. We have worked very hard over the years, indeed, to ensure that elements like the International Committee of the Red Cross and others who see the conduct of our detainee operations and so forth approve of them. Because in the cases where that is not true, we end up paying a price for it ultimately. Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are nonbiodegradables. They don’t go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick in the Central Command area of responsibility. Beyond that, frankly, we have found that the use of the interrogation methods in the Army Field Manual that was given, the force of law by Congress, that that works. And…”

And regarding the closing of Gitmo, Petraeus agrees with President Obama that it should be closed:

GEN. PETRAEUS: “I’ve been on the record on that for well over a year as well, saying that it should be closed. But it should be done in a responsible manner. So I’m not seized with the issue that it won’t be done by a certain date. In fact, I think it is–it’s very prudent to ensure that, as we move forward with that, wherever the remaining detainees are relocated and so forth, whatever jurisdiction is used in legal cases and so forth, is really thought through and done in a very pragmatic and sensible manner.”

Are Cheney-loving and torture-loving Republicans ready to attack General David Petraeus to advance their failed policies that violate the rule of law?

The full transcript of Gen. Petraeus’ “Meet the Press” interview is available here.


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