176 top officers penned a letter to the president-elect raising concern, while Congress considers blocking Trump’s defense secretary nominee.
Citing a combined 6,000 years of combat and command experience, 176 flag officers penned a letter last week to Donald Trump insisting the president-elect not follow through on campaign promises to torture U.S. enemies.
“We are concerned about statements made during the campaign about the use of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody,” the generals and admirals wrote in a letter dated Jan. 6, a copy of which was released by advocacy group Human Rights First. The authors call torture unnecessary and unlawful, counterproductive and in violation of “our core values as a nation.”
“For these reasons, we are concerned about statements made during the campaign about the use of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. The use of waterboarding or any so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” is unlawful under domestic and international law. Opposition to torture has been strong and bi-partisan since the founding of our republic through the administration of President Ronald Reagan to this very day. This was reinforced last year when the Congress passed the McCain-Feinstein anti-torture law on an overwhelmingly bi-partisan basis. Torture is unnecessary. Based on our experience—and that of our nation’s top interrogators, backed by the latest science—we know that lawful, rapport-based interrogation techniques are the most effective way to elicit actionable intelligence. Torture is also counterproductive because it undermines our national security. It increases the risks to our troops, hinders cooperation with allies, alienates populations whose support the United States needs in the struggle against terrorism, and provides a propaganda tool for extremists who wish to do us harm. Most importantly, torture violates our core values as a nation. Our greatest strength is our commitment to the rule of law and to the principles embedded in our Constitution.”
The letter in PDF