Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Auhorization bill which includes a provision applying the Army Field Manual standards of interrogations to the CIA and its contractors. If this bill passes the Senate and is signed by the President, the United States will have one single standard of humane treatment for detainees in our custody — a crucial step toward putting an end to the torture and official cruelty that have besmirched our county’s honor for the past several years.
Here’s Congressman Steny Hoyer’s statement on the floor before the bill passed.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to ask unanimous consent to include in the record at this time a letter. The letter is signed by, and I will not take the time to read all of the generals, but there are four four-star generals A four star general is as high as you can go in the armed forces of the United States except when we are in a world war in which we accord a five star.
There are many lieutenant generals, admirals, vice admirals, brigadier generals, major generals all of whom are concerned about defeating terrorism. And this is what they say: “As retired military leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces, we write to express” on December 12, 2007, just a few days ago, “we write to express our strong support for Section 327 of the Conference Report on the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.” And then this paragraph and I ask all of my colleagues on both side of the aisle to listen to this paragraph from those who have worn the uniform of the United States of America, who have themselves before they became generals, fought in the battles that America has sent them to. Have fought for the freedom of this country and confronted the terrorist of their day and today. Hear this paragraph from those who have been at war and who want to protect their troops, our troops, American men and women.
They say this: “we believe it is vital to the safety of our men and women in uniform that the United States not sanction the use of interrogation methods it would find unacceptable if inflicted by the enemy against captured Americans.” That is the critical point. We are a nation that believes in the premise of doing unto others what we would have them do to us. Our enemies do not accept that premise. Our enemies do not accept that value. Our enemies are different than we are. We must not become – not become what we confront. The techniques permitted by the Army field manual, as I say, is endorsed by all these generals.