Establishment (Finally) Speaks Out Against Torture and Inhuman Treatment of Detainees

The Democratic and even a big chunk of the Republican foreign policy establishments are now on record against Cheney’s pro-torture policy. The Partnership for a Secure America, a group founded by summer by former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-NH) and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN), released a statement today that says,

“Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners under American control makes us less safe, violates our nation’s values, damages America’s reputation in the world, and cannot be justified.”

Just look at this list of signatories! Howard Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Lawrence Eagleburger are not among the usual suspects for bleeding-heart status…

Warren Rudman US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92

Lee Hamilton US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Vice Chair, 9/11 Commission

Madeleine Albright Secretary of State 1997-2001

Howard Baker US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85

Samuel Berger National Security Advisor 1997- 2001

Zbigniew Brzezinski National Security Advisor 1977-81

Warren Christopher Secretary of State 1993-97

Lawrence Eagleburger Secretary of State 1992-93

Gary Hart US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87

Rita Hauser Chair International Peace Academy 1992-present

Carla Hills US Trade Representative 1989-93

Richard Holbrooke Ambassador to UN 1999-2001

Nancy Kassebaum Baker US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97

Thomas Kean Governor New Jersey 1982-1990, Chairman, 9/11 Commission

Anthony Lake National Security Advisor 1993-97

Robert McFarlane National Security Advisor 1983-85

Donald McHenry Ambassador to UN 1979-81

Sam Nunn US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96

William Perry Secretary of Defense 1994-97

Thomas Pickering Undersecretary of State 1997-2000

Ted Sorenson White House Special Counsel 1961-63

John C. Whitehead Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88

Frank Wisner Undersecretary of Defense 1993-94

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3 Responses to Establishment (Finally) Speaks Out Against Torture and Inhuman Treatment of Detainees

  1. Ugh says:

    If they’re not going to even listen to Scowcroft, much less take his advice, no way they’ll listen to these signatories.

  2. Jim says:

    Well, maybe the outrage and backlash is finally starting to gain momentum. One can hope.

    But we need to remember that torture is recognized by EVERYBODY except possibly “civil libertarian” Al “Thumbscrews” Dershowitz (Al Gonzales and Al Dershowitz, what a pair) as ineffective as an interrogation technique. Torture, in fact, is a terror technique — which is why Bush and Co. want so badly to be able to use it.

    Naomi Klein’s 12-May-2005 article in The Nation, “Torture’s Dirty Secret: It Works” spells it all out quite nicely.


    A few paragraphs from the article:

    This is torture’s true purpose: to terrorize–not only the people in Guantánamo’s cages and Syria’s isolation cells but also, and more important, the broader community that hears about these abuses. Torture is a machine designed to break the will to resist–the individual prisoner’s will and the collective will.

    Yet despite this body of knowledge, torture continues to be debated in the United States as if it were merely a morally questionable way to extract information, not an instrument of state terror. But there’s a problem: No one claims that torture is an effective interrogation tool–least of all the people who practice it. Torture “doesn’t work. There are better ways to deal with captives,” CIA director Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 16. And a recently declassified memo written by an FBI official in Guantánamo states that extreme coercion produced “nothing more than what FBI got using simple investigative techniques.” The Army’s own interrogation field manual states that force “can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

    And yet the abuses keep on coming–Uzbekistan as the new hot spot for renditions; the “El Salvador model” imported to Iraq. And the only sensible explanation for torture’s persistent popularity comes from a most unlikely source. Lynndie England, the fall girl for Abu Ghraib, was asked during her botched trial why she and her colleagues had forced naked prisoners into a human pyramid. “As a way to control them,” she replied.

    Exactly. As an interrogation tool, torture is a bust. But when it comes to social control, nothing works quite like torture.

  3. BroD says:

    No Torture! No exceptions.

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