A couple of days ago, I chronicled the quickening departure of some big military names from the Republican party, those concerned about the party moving even farther to the right a number of issues, including torture. What struck me at the time is that General David Petraeus came out against torture and for closing Guantanamo.
I was stunned, however, when he admitted today that the United States has violated the Geneva Conventions. Without saying specifically how we did (though it doesn't take much imagination to figure it out), Petraeus said on FOX News:
Question: So is sending this signal that we're not going to use these kind of techniques anymore, what kind of impact does this have on people who do us harm in the field that you operate in?This fits in very well with an explosive new video put out by VoteVets.org today, in which Jay Bagwell, who worked in counterintelligence in Afghanistan not only argues against torture, but says that detainees were brought in who had pamphlets portraying Guantanamo in them.
Gen. Petraeus: Well, actually what I would ask is, "Does that not take away from our enemies a tool which again have beaten us around the head and shoulders in the court of public opinion?" When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Conventions we rightly have been criticized, so as we move forward I think it's important to again live our values, to live the agreements that we have made in the international justice arena and to practice those.
One has to wonder what Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and their crowd will say to this? In the past, General Petraeus could do and say no wrong. Now, he is not only saying torture does not work, but is saying that what the right fringe believes are only "enhanced techniques" violated international law.
As Jay Bagwell in our video says so well, "The Unites States can't be a beacon of freedom and human rights and the value of law while we ignore international law."
Now, we can say without a doubt that General David Petraeus agrees.
Mr. Cheney? Rush? What do you say to that?
Jon Soltz, a Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, served as a Captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom