For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Brenda Bowser-Soder, Human Rights First
202-370-3323 |

Retired Military Leaders: Torture is Counterproductive, Unreliable, Immoral and Illegal

WASHINGTON - Three dozen of the nation’s most respected retired Admirals and Generals today issued a public statement denouncing torture and urging the U.S. to uphold detainee treatment standards outlined in the time-tested Army Field Manual. The statement, distributed on the Hill, comes just days before the first anniversary of Seal Team Six’s Osama bin Laden operation anniversary and as Jose Rodriguez, former Director of the National Clandestine Service of the CIA, plans to issue a book claiming torture led to the former al-Qaeda leader.

“We have learned firsthand the value of adhering to the Geneva Conventions and practicing what we preach on the international stage,” notes the statement. “There are those that have argued that the current threat of terrorism has changed the paradigm, and we have to change our ways.  We have heard that argument before, during the Second World War and in Vietnam, but we have been far more steadfast in the past in keeping faith with our national commitment to the rule of law.”

Among those signing today’s statement are members of a non-partisan group of retired Generals and Admirals that works with Human Rights First. Members of the group stood behind President Obama on his second day in office when he signed the Executive Order to end torture and close CIA secret sites, and they continue to advocate for these goals, meeting with politicians across the political spectrum to educate them on these important subjects.

“We fully support current law that bans torture and designates the Army Field Manual as the single standard for interrogation across all agencies,” note the Admirals and Generals. “We reject calls for a secret annex of interrogation tactics.  The Army Field Manual was the product of decades of experience – experience that has shown, among other things, that torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment produces unreliable results and often impedes further intelligence collection.  Discounting the Manual’s wisdom on this central point shows a disturbing disregard for the decades of hard-won knowledge of the professional American military.”

For more information about today’s statement or to speak with one of the retired military officers signing today’s statement, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at or 202-370-3323.


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

Share This Article

More in: