August 27, 2007
Military Lawyers Object to the Double Standard on Detainee Treatment
This weekend the Boston Globe reported on a meeting last month between the military’s top lawyers and several Republican Senators in which the JAGs told the Senators that President Bush’s July 20 executive order on the treatment of CIA prisoners appears to be carefully worded to allow humiliating or degrading interrogation techniques. The JAGs seem downright alarmed about the potential for the abusive practices to spread from the CIA and undermine the higher standards of the Army Field Manual.
The top JAG for the US Army, Major General Scott C. Black, followed up on the meeting this month by sending a memo to lower-ranking soldiers reminding them that Bush's executive order applies only to the CIA, not to military interrogations. Black told soldiers they must follow Army regulations, which "make clear that [the Geneva Conventions are] the minimum humane treatment standard" for prisoners.
"This Executive Order does not change the standard for the Army. . . . I want to ensure that there is no confusion concerning the Executive Order's lack of applicability to the Army," Black wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe. "As a Corps, we must be diligent to ensure that all interrogation and detention operations comply with the Army standard."