Senate members may have dealt President Obama a significant – even if temporary – defeat last week for his efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay when they voted overwhelmingly (90 – 6) to prohibit its funding, but this weekend identified an additional, crucial ally for Obama and other progressives in their efforts to end practices that have undermined efforts to prevent terrorism. This time, his plan’s endorsement came from the former leader of US forces in Iraq and current commander of CENTCOM, US forces in the broader Middle East – Gen. David Petraeus.
In an interview on Radio Free Europe on Sunday, Gen. Petraeus argued that closing the Guantanamo and ending torture would benefit the US in its efforts to combat terrorism.
Key excerpts below, or read the transcript here.
“I think, on balance, that those moves help [us]…In fact, 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. And as a division commander in Iraq in the early days, we put out guidance very early on to make sure that our soldiers, in fact, knew that we needed to stay within those guidelines…
“With respect to Guantanamo, I think that the closure in a responsible manner…sends an important message to the world, as does the commitment of the United States to observe the Geneva Convention when it comes to the treatment of detainees.”