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Ending Torture and Secret Detention in America's Name

May 12, 2005

Introduction

JOANNE MYERS:Good afternoon. I'm Joanne Myers, and on behalf of the Carnegie Council, I would like to welcome our members and guests, and to thank you for joining us for this discussion on ending torture and secret detention in America's name.

Our guests today are Michael Posner, the Executive Director of Human Rights First, and Admiral John Hutson, Dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center and "of counsel" to the lawsuit filed against Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of eight torture victims in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This story, like many of our foreign policy challenges today, begins in the months shortly after 9/11, when a small band of conservative lawyers, working within the Bush Administration, in order to preempt the possibility of another terrorist attack, staked out what they perceived to be a rather creative legal position to handle security detainees and enemy combatants. Their approach, which was approved by President Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and the Attorney General at that time, John Ashcroft, sidestepped the historical safeguards of the Geneva Conventions, which protect the rights of detainees and prisoners of war.

While no one deliberately authorized outright torture, what followed left the door open for widespread abuse by those left in charge of those being held.

Despite months of complaints from human rights organizations, it was only in April 2004, when the photographs showing American soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib were released, that we learned precisely what this secret system of detention and interrogation entailed, not only by our troops in Iraq, but, by extension, Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere. When this news was made public, President Bush still insisted that "the United States was a nation of law." He claimed that this disgraceful conduct had been the work of a few bad apples and that they would be brought to justice. He also promised that America's treatment of terrorist suspects and unlawful enemy combatants, such as those sent to Guantánamo Bay, would conform to both domestic and international laws, declaring that the United States was "committed to the worldwide elimination of torture."

Yet, as the photographs of Abu Ghraib have made clear, these detentions have had enormous consequences. The behavior of interrogators there has had an impact not only on the integrity of our Army, but even more so on the reputation of the United States, and discredits the Bush Administration's proclaimed campaign to spread democracy and human rights around the world. Inasmuch as torture destroys the confidence and respect of our friends and reinforces the credibility of the enemy, it is hard to imagine anything more counterproductive for our foreign policy initiatives.

Today our discussion will focus on the prohibition on the use of torture, military accountability, and the process that has allowed torture to be employed. Please join me in welcoming our guests, Michael Posner and Admiral John Hutson.

Remarks

MICHAEL POSNER: Thank you for inviting us. I will set the table for this discussion and then turn it over to Admiral Hutson, whose career and life has been in support of promoting the rule of law within the military. As we get into this discussion, it is important that we have the broader context in front of us.

As we live in this post-September 11 world, the threats are real and unprecedented—the threats faced from Al Qaeda and other groups that are well-financed and organized and have a long-term strategy, which is to attack American interests in this country. They are using our weapons, our communications capacity, and our technology against us.

People who are arguing for the primacy of law and maintaining the rule of law must also be mindful that we need to have strong policies ensuring our national security. I give credit to the current administration for creating a national counterterrorism center, a new director of national intelligence, Mr. Negroponte. The Congress has also done much constructive work, in the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks also known as the 9/11 Commission, headed by Governor Kean and Lee Hamilton. Many of their recommendations still need to be implemented.

There is still much discussion about the need for greater security in our ports, trains, chemical plants, atomic facilities, and the cyber network. These are all rights—neutral, prudent, and sensible.

At the same time, the administration has, under the rubric of the war on terrorism, undertaken a number of actions which have caused a significant erosion of civil liberties and undermined our standing in the world. We are fighting for the soul of this country, what it stands for historically and how it represents itself in the world.

What Vice President Cheney, in the fall of 2001, called "the new normalcy" reflects an understanding of the world as it is. The administration has tampered with four cornerstones of our historical policies. One is the notion of openness in government, one of the most important elements of how we function as a society. Madison said 200 years ago that "Popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." We have always been an open society, where those in government are accountable to the people, where the executive is accountable to the Congress, where there is a free flow of ideas and debate. Tonight's discussion is not about that, but it is an element of the "new normal" that the administration has cut back dramatically on things like the Freedom of Information Act.

Nor are we here to talk about privacy rights. A debate is beginning this year about renewing some of the elements of the Patriot Act. We will not touch on the treatment of non-citizens, immigrants, refugees, minorities, who have been targeted for discriminatory action.

The subject tonight is the fourth pillar of the "new normal," the treatment of security detainees. The broad theory behind it is that there is war and there is law. From the beginning of 2002, the administration has said that criminal charges, access to legal counsel, and trials are—in Alberto Gonzales' words to the ABA [American Bar Association]—"neither necessary nor appropriate." The Secretary of Defense said, "We now are operating under different rules, where the executive should determine which rules have to apply when the threat of terrorism arises."

There is a notion of a global war against terrorism that applies to the fifty states that has no time limit and that makes law a luxury, not a necessity. We have the Hamdi and Padilla cases, two cases involving U.S. citizens held in the United States. The Supreme Court ruled last year, in an 8-to-1 decision, that Hamdi was entitled to a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for detention before a neutral decision maker.

Interestingly, in the Padilla case, which the Supreme Court heard and decided to refer to the South Carolina courts, Judge Floyd, appointed by George W. Bush, ruled earlier this year that Padilla, who has now been held for three years—an American citizen, arrested on American soil, denied a lawyer for two years, still detained without charge in a military brig—must be charged or released in forty-five days.

The courts are rejecting the notion of the war on terrorism trumping law.

It is more difficult in the detentions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Abu Ghraib and the pictures that we saw of the seven or eight low-ranking soldiers are the tip of the iceberg. There are 11,000 people in U.S. detention, including 500 at Guantánamo, another 500 or so in Afghanistan, over 9,000 in Iraq. The policies of the administration since the end of 2002, set by the Secretary of Defense, have said, "We have to change the rules."

We have legal responsibilities under the Constitution, under a convention against torture, to refrain from torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. It is crystal-clear if you read the Army field manual; it is crystal-clear if you read the law: You don't do it. There are no exceptions.

The Secretary of Defense made a judgment, which was supported down the chain of command, that, "We will change the rules. We will lean hard on people. We will take the gloves off"—euphemisms for, "We will abuse people to get better information and intelligence."

The result, according to the Pentagon's numbers: One hundred and eight people have died in U.S. custody; twenty-eight criminal homicides, one of which was at Abu Ghraib. Yet the administration continues to say, "We're not torturing people." But then they say, "We define torture as that which leads to serious bodily harm or death. It doesn't mean cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," which is, after all, what we saw at Abu Ghraib. We have more than 300 cases where there have been or are investigations of interrogation practices which violate the law.

This is a question of policy. It is not seven bad apples. It is a policy authorized at the top of the administration, by the Secretary of Defense and those closest to him. It is eroding and undermining our authority in the world in ways that we can't even begin to imagine.

In addition to the detentions and the interrogations, there are several other practices that ought to be of great concern, such as secret detentions. We have identified twenty-some facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, on board ships, where people are being held by the U.S. government, mostly by the CIA and intelligence services, with no access to the International Committee of the Red Cross. They have disappeared. The administration calls these "ghost detainees."

Their rationale for abandoning the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan and for foreign fighters in Iraq is that these are law-free zones, the legal equivalent of outer space. When you have law-free zones, people disappear.

The second part of the law-free zone is that in some cases— probably between 100 and 150—we have rendered people in U.S. custody to foreign governments that are likely to be less constrained in their interrogation techniques—to Egypt, to Syria, to Jordan, to Kuwait. These "extraordinary renditions," as the administration calls them, are a clear violation of the law. But in a world where you have law-free zones, it is part of what you do.

Where do we go from here? Next year the Supreme Court will hear two or three, or maybe even four, of these cases. With the exception of the Fourth Circuit, the courts have been remarkably consistent in rejecting the notion of a war against terrorism which trumps law.

We have been calling for a congressionally appointed commission, a 9/11-style commission, with subpoena power, bipartisan, with a global reach, which would look at the military and the intelligence services everywhere people are in detention.

It is also important that we view this in a global perspective. One question that we often struggle with is, how do we create better legal enforcement systems? One of the items now on the UN Secretary-General's agenda is creating a long-overdue global comprehensive treaty on terrorism. It is absolutely incumbent on the rights community and people concerned about these issues to also be looking for affirmative ways towards a collective response.

But mostly we need more vigorous public debate on these issues. We are fighting for the most fundamental principles that have made this country great and strong. If our political leaders, of either party, will not take the lead, we need a renewed public outcry and a public debate that takes these issues for what they are: A reaffirmation of a commitment to human rights and the rule of law in the U. S., a reaffirmation that the United States is a leader in the world, and that we must lead by example.

Thirty years ago, Justice Douglas wrote, "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in this twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

I'm an optimist. We will win this fight. But we are in the twilight, and it is critically important for people concerned about these issues to take initiative to prevent us from moving in the wrong direction.

ADMIRAL JOHN HUTSON: Speakers generally say, "Thank you for asking me"—I do thank you for the opportunity—and, "It's a real pleasure to be here." It's not a pleasure to be here at all. I wish we weren't talking about these problems. I'd rather be at home with my family. I wish that torture were not a big issue in the U.S. right now and that how we are treating people in our custody were not something we were changing.

The only mission of the U.S. armed forces is to fight and win our nation's wars. Everything that makes us better able to fight and win the nation's wars is a good thing. Everything that ultimately detracts from that ability is bad.

It is absolutely necessary to win the so-called global war on terror. We can quibble with the phrase because it's a misnomer, but we all know what we mean.

The question becomes, what does "win" mean? It will be easy for this country to win this war militarily, but it will be a pyrrhic victory because we run the risk of losing the reason we were fighting in the first place.

The great strength of the United States is not the armed forces. It is not our unchallenged, unmatched military might. It isn't our economy. It isn't our natural resources, our essential island nature. The great strength of the U.S. is that for generations our mission has been human rights and the rule of law which embody everything else that we stand for.

In losing our bearings with regard to human rights, with regard to support of the rule of law, we have undermined the fundamental strength of the United States, and we therefore risk losing the war.

The only meaningful weapon that the enemy has is terror. The threat of terror is not the loss of human life, as awful as that is. It is not undermining or detracting from our ability or willingness to fight. The real target in terrorism is to bring us down to their level. If they succeed in doing that, and we lose our soul in the process of trying to win the victory, we will have played straight into their strength.

Resisting that temptation is not easy. The twenty-eight homicides that we know of that the Pentagon is investigating and admits to, the 300 cases of abuse—all of that means, in the end, that we are in the process of losing our way in fighting the war on terror.

Perhaps the only thing worse than getting ourselves in the situation in the first place is now lacking the moral courage to deal with it in a forthright and honest way. We have court-martialed some bad apples, but we have steadfastly refused to look at the fundamental systemic, organic problems that caused this in the first place.

I have not read the full report that was recently submitted by Vice Admiral Tom Church. I have only read the twenty-one-page summary in which he mentions six deaths and seventy cases of abuse. These occurred all over the world, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo—Army, Marine Corps, Navy, active duty, reserves, National Guard, over a long period of time.

He goes on to say, "However, that means there's no single overarching reason for this to be happening," which is exactly the wrong conclusion. If it's occurring in all those locations over this long period of time, in all the services, there is a single overarching reason, and it is absolutely clear that we have a whole orchard of bad apples.

This raises the question of who is tending the orchard. We have conducted eleven investigations now, all of which are directed down. The Church report starts out by saying, "As Secretary Rumsfeld directed." You might as well stop reading. We end up with the conclusion that there's no overarching reason; it's a few bad apples. It simply doesn't pass the snicker test.

The great strength of the military is the chain of command, the heart and soul of which is the doctrine of accountability. You can delegate the authority, but you cannot delegate the responsibility. Without accountability, "chain of command" is three meaningless words. Without a chain of command, the U.S. armed forces is a scary organization. You don't want an armed force representing you that is not limited by the chain of command, which is, indeed, undermined, led off in wrong directions by the chain of command, which then simply points the finger down to "a few bad apples" and will court-martial Lynndie England.

We have problems that we are too afraid to face. During the hearings, Senator Warner, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, famously shook his finger and said, "We will leave no stone unturned." There are lots of stones still lying sunny side up, waiting to be looked under to see what will crawl out.

The administration won't deal with it. Although there are a few members who are willing to talk about it, the Congress, as an institution, is not willing to deal with it. So it ends up being the media, the courts, and people like you. Unless we continue to voice our concerns, the problems will not stop.

During the President's press conference, he was asked a question about extraordinary rendition. He gave a half-sentence standard answer about "the United States does not support torture." But then he looks into the camera and says, "But this is hard work, and we've got to do what we've got to do," which translates into "We will use extraordinary rendition when necessary."

If we are going to torture people, then let's do it ourselves. Having Uzbekistan torture them for us is cowardly, and it completely ignores the issue. It is like my granddaughter who covers her eyes and thinks everybody has left the room. We are covering our eyes and thinking that this doesn't exist.

The Army is in the process of promulgating a new field manual. But Article 93 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, "Maltreatment of Subordinates," already says that you can't do these things. Federal law, Title X, at least ten sections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, all say that you can't do this. Another field manual will not fix the problem. Indeed, most of the problems did not occur in connection with interrogations, which is what the field manual addresses. Most of it is misbehavior by people who are not being led or, worse, are being led in the wrong direction.

We want the armed forces to reflect American society. History is replete with examples of armed forces that don't reflect the country or the society that they are fighting for. They are generally called mercenaries. That is not what this country wants.

JOANNE MYERS: I would like to open the floor to discussion.

Questions and Answers

QUESTION: Both of you referred to the legitimacy of the war on terror and the need to win, no matter what. But when you set your enemy as somehow so utterly "other" than you, you open the door for the possibility of torture. We have had clients in our Doctors of the World program from more than 100 countries, and whether they have been tortured because of their ethnicity, or their political beliefs, or because they are gay, they all tell us that they were treated as non-human by their torturers.

ADMIRAL JOHN HUTSON: Dehumanizing the enemy is something that armies have done for millennia to enable them to kill them. An interesting experiment was conducted some years ago in the psychology department at Stanford University. A psychology professor divides a class into two groups, the guards and the prisoners. They go down into the basement of the psych building and start to conduct this experiment that was supposed to last a week. But he had to call it off after a couple of days because the guards became abusive of the so-called prisoners—their classmates—which says something very scary about human nature.

But it also says that the chain of command that limits that dehumanization and permits you to shoot them on the battlefield, but then treat them with some dignity and respect when they are prisoners, is tremendously important and difficult.

MICHAEL POSNER: We have had a surreal debate in this country about when, whether, and how torture, cruel treatment, is acceptable. Professor Dershowitz at Harvard wants to have the courts issue torture warrants.

It's absolutely clear from every experience we've had around the world that once you move away from a policy that says, "No, never," zero tolerance, you are heading in a direction that will inevitably bring the whole system into corruption and disrepute. You cannot deviate.

The notion that somehow this is only about trying to get information is also wrong. In the absence of clear rules, dehumanization, intimidation of people, and the coercive aspect, all of these come into play.

When one of the U.S. Army interrogators in Afghanistan returned home, he commented on the gravitational laws that govern human behavior, that when one group of people is given complete control over another, every impulse tugs downward. When you say, "Let's take the gloves off," and there is lack of clarity about what the rules are, there will inevitably be abuse and people will be treated in the dehumanizing way you described.

QUESTION: What can we as civilians do about this problem?

MICHAEL POSNER: We need to put greater pressure on our political leaders. Admiral Hutson testified in the hearings on the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales. We struggled to get the two New York senators to stand up and say no to Gonzales. We had Senator Lieberman in Connecticut giving probably the most spirited defense of Gonzales, not only as the President's choice, but on the merits of these issues. He gave a ten- or fifteen-minute speech on the floor of the Congress saying that Gonzales was right when he said that the Geneva Conventions don't apply.

Not enough people in Connecticut are going back to Senator Lieberman and saying, "This is not why we voted for you."

For six weeks, Senator Warner was committed to picking up those rocks and looking underneath and holding hearings. Then he's gone missing. We need a public outcry of, "Not in our name. We will not tolerate this." Congress has to empower an independent commission with subpoena power to look at this from top to bottom, to remake the policy.

QUESTION: Where do we stand with the CIA?

ADMIRAL JOHN HUTSON: I have not seen the IG report, but I am not optimistic about a report that is being done by the inspector general of the organization, particularly when we have issues that transcend CIA. This involves DOD [Department of Defense]. The inspector general of the CIA will look at the subordinates within the CIA. There have been some good reports out of DOD. Taguba did a decent job, but it's very narrow, and it's all focused downward. It is very difficult to say it is your boss's problem, that he or she is at fault.

That is why you need something more like a 9/11 commission, something that is absolutely bulletproof and transcends all the individual departments, because the issue involves contractors, Department of the Interior employees, all kinds of people.

MICHAEL POSNER: In the Senate, the ranking Democratic member of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Rockefeller, has pushed hard for an oversight hearing. Senator Roberts, who chairs the committee, has not only rejected it, but in the most recent comments, he said, "I'm getting sick and tired of the critics who are trying to constrain our intelligence services." He is now lashing out at the notion that there should even be an oversight hearing.

On the House side, Jane Harman, the Democratic ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, has been contemplating introducing legislation that would initiate preventive detention in the United States and that would give the President authority to authorize coercive or illegal interrogations, as long as the intelligence committees found out about it in ninety days.

This was stirring beneath the surface. Some of us got wind of it, and we raised hell. She has backed off — although she recently gave a speech in which she said, "We've got to find a third way. We have to find a way to rein in the intelligence agencies by allowing more coercive interrogation." It doesn't make any sense.

I talked about the ghost detainees. The Pentagon is now playing a game. They'll testify and say, "We have no one in our custody who's not getting Red Cross access. There are no ghost detainees." Yes, that's right; there are now CIA sections of the facilities, run by the CIA, where they are holding people.

A couple of weeks ago, Steve Cambone, who is the number-three person in the Pentagon, testified that we're doing no secret detentions. They write a story about it in the newspaper, and nobody bothers to ask, "You're talking about the military. Where's the CIA?"

This fragmentation of the response to the problem is making it impossible to get the full story or the solution to it. We need a comprehensive look at the whole system and what it does. The administration is very good at deflecting that attention. The government must have a unified policy that says people are not tortured or treated abusively.

ADMIRAL JOHN HUTSON: All the literature, all the experts say that torture doesn't work as a technique to get good, valuable intelligence, particularly the way we have been doing it, which is&mdsash;I can't believe I'm even saying this, in 2005, in America—wholesale torture, where you torture a bunch of people and see who knows what.

The lawsuit we are involved with is on behalf of eight people tortured in the most horrific kinds of ways, who are then released. They didn't know anything. People don't like to hear it, but the best way to get information is to befriend them, to break down the barriers. You want them to forget that you are enemies. You tend to their wounds, you see how they are, and then they start to talk.

But when you do just the opposite and remind them in the most brutal ways that you are on opposite sides, they resist. The literature says that people can resist for a couple of days, but then everybody talks, just to make you stop the pain. But there is no reliability to what they're saying. They are only talking to get you to stop the torture.

QUESTION: Where does this Neolithic pigheaded process of interrogative practices come from?

ADMIRAL JOHN HUTSON: I don't know. Very early on, Secretary Rumsfeld said in a speech in Miami, in an offhand, cavalier way, in reference to the detainees at Guantánamo, "They're all terrorists, so different rules apply," without ever enunciating what those rules are. What he meant was that the Geneva Conventions don't apply. Then the war on terror morphs from Afghanistan and Gitmo to Iraq, and that mentality takes over.

Since then, it's been an abject lack of leadership. Nobody has stood up and said, "They may be terrorists, they may be evildoers, but they're human beings, and we're Americans, and we will treat them with the dignity and respect with which Americans have treated human beings, by virtue of their humanity alone, for generations." Rather, the message is to the armed forces, "They're all terrorists, so different rules apply."

MICHAEL POSNER: We have to begin to challenge—and should have been challenging all along—this notion of a global war on terrorism. It sets a frame that goes back to the notion that we are in a new paradigm, radically different from anything else the world has ever experienced, and the rules are off. You have an executive that can make judgments. The notion of separation of power or judicial constraint is out the window.

"Trust us; we'll do what's best for you. We're fighting this new dangerous enemy, and we'll make you safe. Don't ask about what we're doing and how we're doing it"—that is a pernicious doctrine. We haven't had enough of a public debate about what exactly we are talking about. What we did in Afghanistan, what we're doing in Iraq, what we're doing in Guantánamo, what we're doing to Padilla—are very different things.

There is no such thing as a law-free zone in the world. If we are a country that promotes freedom and democracy and the rule of law globally, we have to live those values. We can't have exceptions. We can't dehumanize a group of people and say, "The rules don't apply. We're fighting a war against terrorism."

QUESTION: There are other answers besides legislative answers to these questions. One of the approaches that we have always committed ourselves to in the ICJ [International Commission of Jurists] has been the rule of law through an independent judiciary. We look at this situation as a separation-of-powers issue, and what the role of the judiciary is when things go amok. This is nothing new in the history of the United States. We've had it time and time again since Madison.

But the question of accountability, in the final analysis, is up to the judiciary. If the judiciary isn't strong enough to offset threats to individual liberty, then we have a serious problem. Historically, these threats to the security of the United States have always brought about draconian laws, alien and sedition acts and all kinds of other laws that suppress the people in times of a perceived or an actual threat to the security of the nation. When the threat subsides, so does the answer to these problems.

Ex parte Milligan wasn't decided by the Supreme Court until three years after the Civil War ended. In your lawsuit, you will bump into Eisentrager all over again, as we did in Rasul and al Odah and the other cases.

There is a much more serious problem than torture and that is whether our fundamental structure of government is in danger, whether we are about to lose the checks and balances that we rely upon to maintain freedom. The judiciary today is under very heavy attack. Every day you pick up references to "activist judges." If we lose judicial independence, we lose our democracy.

MICHAEL POSNER: I agree. At least two of the Guantánamo cases will probably come up to the Supreme Court next year. One is the military commission's case, Hamdan, which was decided by Judge Robertson, who said the rules that the ad-hoc rules the administration has set up to deal with these military commissions violate both international and U.S. law. The Supreme Court will hear that and support Judge Robertson.

In the habeas petitions now that came as a result of the Rasul case that the Supreme Court allowed to go forward, you have two district court judges in D.C. going in different directions. That will wind its way up through the courts to the Supreme Court.

Inevitably, they will say that the courts have a role here; there has to be a meaningful review—and then the Padilla case.

Then we are trying, with Admiral Hutson, General Cullen and the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], in the Rumsfeld case, to say that the courts should also take a look at a policy promulgated by the Secretary of Defense that is in violation of the law. Whether we survive all the procedural hurdles is an open question. But if we get to the merits of this case, we will win, because there is clear violation of the law.

It is important to send a signal that, in the absence of congressional action, we will go to the courts. We may or may not succeed, but we will go down fighting if we don't.

QUESTIONER: In this attack on the fundamental liberties of people, the administration hasn't targeted Americans. If you analyze all of the 3,000 defendants that have been picked up after 9/11, we only have a handful of Americans. We have Hamdi, Padilla, and a few in Rochester. But the real attack being made by the administration is on non-Americans. That is a very clever device to justify draconian attacks on the fundamental liberties of people.

That brings up the whole issue of whether non-Americans are protected by the rights of the Constitution. You will face that pointblank in your Rumsfeld suit, which will drag up Eisentrager and all the other court cases. That is an interesting point, because, contrary to earlier threats to the national security, this administration has handled it a little bit differently than other administrations have. The Japanese were all American citizens.

QUESTION: I have had a lot of experience in three wars, and I have seen the strains that are put on a commander in the field in dealing with the problems we're talking about. I agree with you on the judiciary aspects of this. A commander is responsible and accountable for what his command does and doesn't do. We are in real danger of destroying that, slowly. It will rub off, from the judiciary down through the military. We see it today in the action—or lack of action—on the part of some of our commanders.

ADMIRAL JOHN HUTSON: I will quote from Thomas Jefferson and from a soldier who was an interrogator for the 501st Military Intelligence Battalion. He wrote home, "We need to take a deep breath and remember who we are. It comes down to standards of right and wrong, something we can't put aside just because it's inconvenient. We're American soldiers, heir to a long tradition of staying on the high ground. We need to stay there."

Thomas Jefferson said, "I tremble for my country when I recall that God is just."

MICHAEL POSNER: One of the most heartening things in the debate that we haven't had enough of is the response of military leaders like John Hutson. These are not Democratic-Republican or liberal-conservative or military-non-military issues; they are American issues. They are about who we are as a people. The military leaders, both lawyers and other senior leaders, have stepped up here in a way that's fantastic. The military understands more intimately than anybody what is at stake here, and they are in the best position to lead the charge and make sure that we do the right thing.

JOANNE MYERS: Thank you, Michael and John, for bringing this issue to us.

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