Friday, April 13, 2007

Retired Generals Host Torture Forum For Prez Hopefuls, Only Four Respond

By Cernig

Raw Story has what should be one of the big stories of the presidential nomination races today.
A group of retired generals and admirals will sit down for informal discussions with four presidential candidates in New Hampshire over the course of this weekend. A human rights group has organized the discussions to allow the military veterans to deliver messages to the 2008 hopefuls on US detention policy in the war on terrorism and the use of torture.
The meeting, organised by Human Rights watch, involves sit downs with 20 former admirals and generals "to raise awareness with candidates from both parties about detention and interrogation issues in the war on terrorism."

So far, only four candidates have said they will be attending - all Dems. Clinton, Biden, Kucinich, and Edwards. No Obama (and if his staff have any sense at all they'll get on this quick). No John McCain, supposedly the anti-torture champion (yeah, right).

In fact, no Republicans at all.
"These retired officers believe those who seek to be Commander in Chief should be well conversant with issues related to the Geneva Conventions and the rules governing treatment of detainees," the group, formerly known as the Lawyers' Committee on Human Rights, said in a press release. "This group of experienced military leaders...intend to have a candid discussion with the candidates, which they hope will help to ensure that the candidates are better informed as they speak about these issues on the campaign trail, and ultimately as one of them assumes the highest office in the nation."

The group of retired officers emphasized that they were working to make the question of detention and interrogation a nonpartisan issue in the course of the 2008 presidential election.

"Wouldn't it be great if the principal candidates agreed with one another, and this subject was off the table as campaign issue, with unanimity about how this will go forward?" asked Joseph P. Hoar, another retired four-star General who was formerly Commander in Chief of the US Central Command.
Well, yes it would. And it looks like the various Republican candidates have already agreed amongst themselves - they're all for torture. Better a position of supporting the continuation of America's descent into pariah status than to have the far Right accuse you of mollycoddling all those damn terrorists (including the vast majority of innocent ones who have already been released) eh?

After all, TV says it's OK.
But [the officers] also emphasized the difficulties of having a rational discussion about detention and interrogation policy in the era of popular television programs like Fox's 24 and ABC's Lost.

General Krulak said that beyond the mistakes made by the administration in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, "We have a society now based on certain shows on TV that also is becoming very much inured to a sense of what torture is, what's acceptable, and what isn't."
Did I mention that Obama's people better get on this quick?

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