Bush Nominates General Who Oversaw Guantanamo Prison To Be Top NATO Commander

Last week President Bush nominated U.S. Army Gen. Bantz Craddock to be NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, the same position formerly held by Gen. Wesley Clark. Craddock currently oversees the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and was formerly chief military assistant to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

While overseeing Guantanamo, Craddock has fiercly defended the prison’s interrogation practices and has been criticized for failing to take action against the abuses there. Some highlights:

Craddock falsely insisted that a “significant number” of detainees at Guantanamo Bay were members of al-Qaeda. In Mar. 2005, Craddock said that a significant number of Guantanamo detainees “are highly trained, dangerous members of al-Qaida, its related terrorist networks, and the former Taliban regime.” In reality, only around eight percent of the detainees fought for al Qaeda and 16 percent for the Taliban.

Craddock refused to reprimand Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller for abuse and torture of detainee Mohammad al-Qahtan. Miller, who “commanded the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and later helped set up U.S. operations at Abu Ghraib, was accused of failing to properly supervise Qahtani’s interrogation plan and was recommended for reprimand by investigators.” Craddock refused to follow the investigators’ recommendation, justifying his decision by saying the interrogation “led to breaking al-Qahtani’s resistance and to solid intelligence gains.”

Craddock joked about the detainee hunger strike, saying the prisoners had “choices” in feeding tube color, flavor of lozenges. In Feb. 2006, Craddock “joked that at least hunger strikers got to choose the color of their feeding tube (yellow was a favorite), and the flavor of the lozenges used to soothe thoats irritated by the feeding tubes. ‘Look, they get choices,’ Craddock said at the time. ‘And that’s part of the problem.'”