Quotes on Guantanamo and Torture

Quotes on Guantanamo and Torture

Accountability

"Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors... After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration [G.W. Bush administration] has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
-Major General Antonio M. Taguba (USA-Ret.)
Source: Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by the US

"The highest levels of the U.S. military, the Defense Department, and the White House must be held accountable for putting our troops at greater risk and diminishing America's moral authority across the globe."
-Lawrence Korb, former Naval intelligence officer and Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan Administration
Source: Article co-written by John Halpin, Center for American Progress
"Cover-Up of Abu Ghraib Torture Puts Troops at Risk"

 

Torture

"Torture and abuse cost American lives...I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq...How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."
-Matthew Alexander, leader of an interrogations team assigned to a Special Operations task force in Iraq in 2006.
Source: Washington Post

"There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process."
-Ali Soufan, FBI supervisory special agent, 1997 - 2005
Source: New York Times

“The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security." 
-Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Director of National Intelligence.
Source: New York Times

"I have been hard pressed to find a situation where anybody can tell me that they've ever encountered the ticking-bomb scenario... a show like 24...makes all of us believe that this is real--it's not. Throw that stuff out, it doesn't happen."
-Jack Cloonan, FBI special agent from 1977 - 2002Source: Foreign Policy.com

"Anybody with real combat experience understands that torture is counterproductive."
-F. Andy Messing, retired major U.S. Special Forces and director of the National Defense Council
Source: CVT.org

"The difference between us and the enemy is how we treat the enemy."
-Rear. Adm. John Hutson, former Navy lawyer
Source: UPI.com

"Torture does not work."
-Porter Goss, former director of the CIA
Source: USA Today

"Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary."
-David H. Petraeus, Commander, U.S. Central Command
Source: The Washington Post

"Cruelty disfigures our national character. It is incompatible with our constitutional order, with our laws, and with our most prized values ...there is no more fundamental right than to be safe from cruel and inhumane treatment. Where cruelty exists, law does not."
-Alberto Mora, former general counsel of the United States Navy
Source: JFK Library, Profile in courage award acceptance speech

"My approach was what we call a relationship-based approach?far more than just rapport-building. I've never felt any necessity or operational requirement to bring physical, psychological or emotional pressure on a source to win their cooperation. So, following the guidance in the [Army] field manual, I feel unconstrained in my ability to work in the paradigm that I've taught for so many years."
-Colonel Steven Kleinman, U.S. Air Force Reserve, former military interrogator
Source: Senate transcript

 

Guantanamo

Listen to Brandon Neely speak about his experiences as a guard at Guantanamo and as a soldier in Iraq. The interview was made possible by the Human Rights Show and Amnesty International Local Group 23 in Houston, TX.

"I'd like to see it shut down...I believe that from the standpoint of how it reflects on us that it's been pretty damaging."
-Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Source: Miami Herald

"If it were up to me I would close Guantánamo not tomorrow but this afternoon...Essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America's justice system...and it's causing us far more damage than any good we get from it."
-Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State
Source: Reuters

"I came to this job thinking that Guantánamo Bay should be closed."
-Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense
Source: Reuters

"It gives us a very, very bad name, not just internationally. I have a great deal of difficulty understanding how we can hold someone, pick someone up, particularly someone who might be an American citizen--even if they were caught somewhere abroad--acting against American interests, and hold them without ever giving them an opportunity to appear before a magistrate."
-James A. Baker III, former U.S. Secretary of State
Source: LA Times

"We absolutely got the wrong people."
-Michael Scheuer, a CIA agent who headed the agency's Osama bin Laden unit until 1999
Source: "Innocence Ignored at Guantanamo" by Richard Ackland, Sydney Morning Herald, Ferbruary 23, 2006

"Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks."
-Brigadier General Jay Hood, former commander of Guantanamo
Source: Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2005

 

Guantanamo Commissions

"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people...Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time...I lie awake worrying about this every night...After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and lawyer."
-Major Robert Preston, former prosecutor, on the military commissions, in an email to a supervisor in the Office of Military Commissions.
Source: ABC

"When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused...Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged...You have repeatedly said to the office that the military panel will be handpicked and will not acquit these detainees and that we only needed to worry about building a record for the review panel."
-Captain John Carr, former prosecutor, on the military commissions, in an email to a supervisor in the Office of Military Commissions.
Source: ABC