On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.More

Letters/Statements

This group of retired military leaders has signed a number of influential letters urging Congress and the Executive Branch to commit to high standards of prisoner treatment. June 13, 2013: Letter From Retired Generals and Admirals Opposing Mandatory Military Custody and Indefinite Detention of those Captured in the US June 13, 2013: Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals on Comprehensive Framework to Close GTMO February 15, 2013: Retired Generals and Admirals Call on Obama to Support Public Release of CIA Torture Report December 12, 2012: Retired Military Leaders Call on SSCI to Adopt CIA Torture Report December 4, 2012: Retired Military Brass Urge Obama to Uphold Guantanamo Promise April 25, 2012: Retired Generals, Admirals Statement: Torture is Counterproductive, Unreliable, Immoral and Illegal January 20, 2012: Retired Admirals, Generals Urge Obama to Transfer Cleared Guantanamo Detainees January 9, 2012: Retired Generals and Admirals Urge Obama to Fulfill Guantanamo Promise November 22, 2011: Retired Military Leaders Call on 2012 Presidential Candidates to Reject Use of Torture June 15, 2011:Military Leaders' letter to Senate Armed Services Committee opposing possible proivisions related to torture, Guantanamo, and the Authorization for the Use of Military force. May 5, 2011: Military Leaders’ letter urging the Obama Administration to speak out against the use of torture. April 7, 2011: Military Leaders’ open letter opposing the Obama Administration’s decision to try the suspected 9/11 co-conspirators in military commissions. December 10, 2010: Military Leaders' Letter Opposing Provision to Thwart GTMO trials January 21, 2010: Military Leaders' Letter on the deadline to close Guantánamo November 18, 2009: Military Leaders' Letter regarding Closing Guantánamo September 9, 2009: Military Leaders' Letter regarding 9/11 trials September 15, 2008: Letter to Senators to express support for the ICRC provision of the defense authorization bill.
"When our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines go into battle, we owe them the assurance that, should they be captured by the enemy, the United States will be able to aggressively assert their rights to humane treatment, to be held in recognized places of detention, and to be registered with and visited by the Red Cross, which can raise concerns about their treatment... Red Cross notification and access to prisoners is an essential buttress to the integrity of humane treatment obligations under the Geneva Conventions." (September 15, 2008)
August 1, 2008: Letter to Democratic and Republican Platform Committees, urging them to include a plank unequivocally rejecting the use of torture and other official cruelty in the treatment of prisoners. December 12, 2007: Letter to Senate and House Select Intelligence Committees supporting Section 327 of the Conference Report on the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which would require intelligence agents of the U.S. government to adhere to the standards of prisoner treatment and interrogation contained in the U.S. Army Field Manual.
"In order to ensure adherence across the government to the requirements of the Geneva Conventions and to maintain the integrity of the humane treatment standards on which our own troops rely, we believe that all U.S. personnel – military and civilian – should be held to a single standard of humane treatment reflected in the Army Field Manual." (December 12, 2007)
March 2, 2007: Letter from four former Judge Advocates General to Senators in support of legislation to restore habeas corpus for detainees in U.S. custody. September 12, 2006: Letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee from three former Judge Advocates General in Support of Preserving Habeas Corpus.
"As Alexander Hamilton and James Madison emphasized in the Federalist papers, the writ of habeas corpus embodies principles fundamental to our nation. It is the essence of the rule of law, ensuring that neither king nor executive may deprive a person of liberty without some independent review to ensure that the detention has a reasonable basis in law and fact. That right must be preserved. Fair hearings do not jeopardize our security. They are what our country stands for." (September 12, 2006 JAG Letter )
September 12, 2006: Letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee in Support of Preserving Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions in the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
"That is why we believe – and the United States has always asserted — that a broad interpretation of Common Article 3 is vital to the safety of U.S. personnel. But the Administration's bill would put us on the opposite side of that argument. We urge you to consider the impact that redefining Common Article 3 would have on Americans who put their lives at risk in defense of our Nation. We believe their interests, and their safety and protection should they become prisoners, should be your highest priority as you address this issue." (September 12, 2006)
July 10, 2006: Letter from Retired JAGS to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Hamdan v Rumsfeld. July 7, 2006: Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing concern about the Judicial Nomination of William J. Haynes, II. January 18, 2006: Letter to President Bush on the Implementation of the McCain Amendment. October 3, 2005: Letter to Senator McCain in Support of his Amendment to Ban Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
"It is now apparent that the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and elsewhere took place in part because our men and women in uniform were given ambiguous instructions, which in some cases authorized treatment that went beyond what was allowed by the Army Field Manual. Administration officials confused matters further by declaring that U.S. personnel are not bound by longstanding prohibitions of cruel treatment when interrogating non-U.S. citizens on foreign soil. As a result, we suddenly had one set of rules for interrogating prisoners of war, and another for "enemy combatants;" one set for Guantánamo, and another for Iraq; one set for our military, and another for the CIA. Our service members were denied clear guidance, and left to take the blame when things went wrong. They deserve better than that. The United States should have one standard for interrogating enemy prisoners that is effective, lawful, and humane." (October 3, 2005)
January 3, 2005: Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing concern about the Nomination of Alberto R. Gonzalez to be Attorney General. September 7, 2004: Letter to President Bush Proposing an Independent Commission to Review Detention and Interrogation Policies and Practices.