Bi-partisan group calls for torture ban listen06/25/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Today a bi-partisan group of former national security and defense officials and religious leaders released a statement calling on President Bush to issue an executive order to ban torture.
Gen. Paul Kern, who led the internal Army investigation of abuses at Abu Ghraib, says that in his near 40 year Army career he always followed the Geneva Convention and taught soldiers to do likewise. He’s disappointed that the U.S. has lost its way in recent years.
Alberto Mora was the General Counsel at the U.S. Navy back in 2002, when he learned about detainees being held at Guatanamo Bay that were being subjected to cruel and unlawful interrogation practices. He began a campaign inside the Bush administration to prevent civilian and military leaders from codifying any policy that might sanction the mistreatment of such detainees as part of the war on terror.
Mora said that the long- and short-term costs of torture weaken the country, and compared it to how the U.S. contended with the issue a half century ago. For his effort, he was awarded the 2006 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Among the national security and defense signatories on the list are former Secretaries of State George Schultz and Madeline Albright, former Bush administration officials like Richard Armitage, Thomas Pickering and Marc Grossman, and former public officials Gary Hart, Sam Nunn and Thomas Kean.
Organizers say that an Executive Order is the fastest vehicle to achieve their goal of banning torture, and thus that is their reasoning asking that of the president, as opposed to going through Congress.