Last week, Gen. David Petraeus told Radio Free Europe that he supports President Obama’s decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and that he opposes the use of so-called “enhance interrogation techniques.” “I have long been on record as having testified and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention,” Petraeus said.
Today in an interview with Fox News, Petraeus reiterated his support for a “responsible closure” of Gitmo but went a bit further, noting that the prison has been harmful to the U.S.:
PETRAEUS: Gitmo has caused us problems, there’s no question about it. I oversee a region in which the existence of Gitmo has indeed been used by the enemy against us. We have not been without missteps or mistakes in our activities since 9/11. And again, Gitmo is a lingering reminder for the use of some in that regard.
As Fox host Martha MacCallum went through most of the right-wing talking points on Gitmo and torture (Gitmo terrorists will “go free” in the U.S, torture works and should be used for the “ticking-time bomb” scenario) Petraeus knocked them down one-by-one. “I don’t think we should be afraid to live our values,” Petraeus repeatedly said.
Seemingly referring to Obama’s decision to release the Bush-era memos documenting President Bush’s torture program, MacCallum asked, “So is sending this signal that we’re not going to use the techniques anymore, what impact will that have on those who do us harm in the field that you operate in?” Again, Petraeus noted that such policies and techniques harm the U.S.
PETRAEUS: What I would ask is, does that not take away from our enemies a tool, which again they have beaten us around the head and shoulders in the court of public opinion? When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Convention, we rightly have been criticized. And so as we move forward, I think it is important to again live our values to live the agreements that we have made in the international justice arena and to practice those.
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