Friday, May 11, 2007

Gen. Petraeus Warns Against Using Torture

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 11, 2007; A03

The top U.S. commander in Iraq admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades.

"This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we -- not our enemies -- occupy the moral high ground," Army Gen. David H. Petraeus wrote in an open letter dated May 10 and posted on a military Web site.

He rejected the argument that torture is sometimes needed to quickly obtain crucial information. "Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary," he stated.


Protecting Iraqi civilians rather than abusing them is a major part of Petraeus's offensive to improve security in Baghdad. Their mission there, Petraeus noted in his first letter to the troops, on Feb. 10, is to "improve security for the Iraqi people."

He reinforced the point in a recent letter to U.S. military advisers working with Iraqi units, stating that: "Iraqi forces must distances themselves from the abusive practices of the former regime. . . . It is very important that we never turn a 'blind eye' to abuses, thinking that what Iraqis do with their own detainees is 'Iraqi business.' " Full Article

That's heartening. Inflicting pain on someone to pump them for info only results in them telling you what they think you want to hear. How do I know this? 1: Studied the Spanish Inquisition 2: Studied the Knight Templar "trials" 3: Been there. (Don't ask)

More importantly once we started using such techniques we lost the moral high ground on the world stage. We ceased to be the "good guys". We lost the ability to point out the human rights abuses of oh say Russia as it'd just a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Petraeus has been showing the types of strategies and thinking that we've needed for a long time and he just took a step towards making us the good guy again. And we as a nation need that. After all, its hard to lay claim to being the greatest nation in the world if that claim can be refuted with,"But America tortures people."