General David Petraeus: Interesting Views In Midst Of Security Debate

General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, formerly in charge of the war in Iraq, was on Meet The Press this morning, and what he had to say was very telling.

He was asked his view of whether the abandonment of the Army Manual tactics on questioning prisoners of war was the proper thing to do during the Bush Administration. Translated, this means whether he believed the use of torture and the tactics used at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were useful and productive, and he said a clear No to that. Instead, such methods led to us being bitten on the behind, as he expressed it.

Petraeus was also asked if keeping prisoners of the war on terror at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba was a good policy in the long run. He made clear that while we have to work on this in a judicious way, that ultimately it would be better to close that prison at some point.

He was also asked about his view on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and while refusing to make a final statement, he said he supported the stand and activities of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, to investigate the validity of eventual abandonment of the ban on gays in the military.

These views are very significant, as they are generally supportive of the Obama Administration, while Petraeus stands clear of direct political involvement.

It is also revealing that just as Petraeus makes his statements disparaging the policy of torture, that the Justice Department is recommending no prosecution of the lawyers in the Bush Administration who wrote legal defenses of just that policy, which is still endorsed by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The decision not to prosecute John Yoo and the other “torture memo” attorneys is becoming a highly controversial issue, as many wonder why Eric Holder has decided not to pursue them, since the Obama Administration has totally repudiated those tactics.

Overall, General Petraeus’s statements contradict the political stands of the Republican party, despite the fact that most observers perceive him as basically a Republican in his views, although he is not actively partisan in any fashion and never has been.

Again, the Republicans seem to have more and more people often associated with them, but outside the Congress and the party leadership today, as against their strategy, tactics and actual stated beliefs!

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