In the last week, two of our most senior generals with command of our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have said they oppose the use of torture or so-called "enhanced" interrogation techniques. These same generals also confirm that the use of these techniques has damaged our international reputation while producing no actionable intelligence.
General David Petraeus – the figure lauded by conservatives and the person chosen by Bush and Cheney to sell the surge to Congress – said the following to Fox News in regards to criticisms of President Obama for taking “enhanced interrogation techniques” off the table:
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."
On Sunday, General Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of all coalition forces in Iraq, called for a truth commission to investigate the abuses and torture which occurred there.
General Sanchez also stated, "during my time in Iraq there was not one instance of actionable intelligence that came out of these interrogation techniques."
As Bush and Cheney scramble to defend their actions, making false claims about the effectiveness of the techniques and the military’s desire to use them, we must be very clear: the most senior generals, the ones we trust with our sons and daughters lives - who literally formed the battle plan – are saying Bush and Cheney were wrong.
"If we do not find out what happened then we are doomed to repeat it,” said General Sanchez.
I remain a strong supporter of an independent investigation into the Bush Administration policies. I have also introduced legislation that would establish a special select House Committee to reexamine our national security after a full investigation of the practices and policies of the Bush Administration.
Complaints about the use of torture are no longer arising only from those of us in the Democratic Party. I congratulate these soldiers for their brave and honest words.
We trusted these men to take us to war. We should trust them when they say we went too far.
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