PETRAEUS NOT READING FROM GOP SCRIPT…. Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, hasn’t exactly been helpful to the far-right cause of late. As conservative Republicans have pushed for keeping Gitmo open, torturing terrorist suspects, and ending civilian trials for accused terrorists, the four-star general has voiced his agreement with President Obama’s position on all of these issues.
On “Meet the Press” this morning, Petraeus continued to reject the positions of the Republican Party’s dominant Cheney-wing, distancing himself from, among other things, torture.
“I have always been on the record, in fact, since 2003, with the concept of living our values. And I think that whenever we’ve perhaps taken expedient measures, they’ve turned around and bitten us in the backside. We decided early on, in the 101st airborne division, we just said, we decided to obey the Geneva Conventions…
“In the cases where that is not true [where torture takes place or international human rights groups aren’t granted access to detention sites] we end up paying a price for it, ultimately,” he added. “Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non biodegradable. They don’t go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick…. Beyond that, frankly, we have found that the use of interrogation methods in the army field manual that was given the force of law by Congress, that that works.”
Petraeus wasn’t done there. In another contrast with former Vice President Cheney — as well as the vast majority of congressional Republicans — he reiterated his support for closing Gitmo, albeit without a date-specific time frame.
None of this is new. Petraeus, like Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, has been on the same page as the Commander in Chief for over a year now. (Petraeus hedged on DADT repeal, saying he’d share his personal opinions with Congress.)
But it is a reminder that the right-wing GOP stands at odds with the American military establishment — including arguably the decorated general they claim to revere — on the key national security issues of the day.
It prompted Spencer Ackerman to ask Liz Cheney a question in an open letter. After noting that Petraeus positioned himself far from the positions she holds dear, Spencer wrote:
But hey. You’re a former deputy assistant secretary of state! You obviously know better than the man who implemented the surge in Iraq. Why don’t you enlighten Gen. Petraeus about all the glories of torture? And since you consider “enhanced interrogation” so necessary to secure the country, perhaps there’s a full-page ad you’ll take out in a major newspaper?