Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Army Field Manual a Good Step

I haven't had time to read enough into Bush's new terror tribunal proposal to comment on it yet, but I did want to note the release of a new Pentagon field manual which prohibits specific harsh forms of interrogation and takes a big step in the right direction.

"In a new department-wide directive on detention policy and a retooled Army field manual on interrogations, Pentagon officials demonstrated a dramatic shift in the way they view the treatment of detainees, and tacitly acknowledged the failures that led to allegations of abuse in U.S. facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The documents reverse the Bush administration's hard-line stance on the rights afforded to suspected terrorists, and label some previously accepted interrogation tactics as abusive and illegal."

Charles Stimson, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, said that the new manual "unambiguously articulates the values and traditions of our nation, values that John Adams called 'the policy of humanity,' which has been the cornerstone of the American ethos of warfare. More importantly, it provides our forces in the field the policy guidance needed to ensure the safe, secure and humane detention during armed conflicts, however those are characterized."

Of course there is the CIA loophole, which remains a problem, but for the military at least this is an important and welcome development. Much credit must go to those in Congress who have pushed hard for this revision of Pentagon policy: most notably Senators McCain, Warner, Graham, and Levin.


At 9:56 AM, Blogger Charles Amico said...

In part I agree with you Jeremy. McCain and others deserve the credit on this one but as you also note, the CIA loophole is huge. I wrote about this a few minutes ago. Notice the President did not include the phrase, "here or abroad" when he says the US does not torture. It is only wrod smithing in my view and as empty as the rest of his rhetoric. He is playing with words and will use in his defense should the Congress attempt to impeach him in the future after the elections. It amy also be an attempt to immunize himself so that foreign governments can't use what he says to bring him up on War Crimes. It's one mans view but gaining in popularity. What do you think?


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