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Video: General Batiste against Bush's 'harsh interrogations' bill

RAW STORY
Published: Friday September 15, 2006

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Retired Major General John Batiste says that redefining the legal definitions in the Geneva Convention Common Article 3 to allow for "harsh interrogations" will set a standard that puts captured American troops in danager. Additional, Batiste is concerned that America will be "giving up the morale high ground" which has allowed stronger foreign policy positions for securing a peace in the world.

During his time commanding troops, Batiste demanded that detainees be given the complete rights afforded to them by the Geneva Conventions. Batiste maintained the high standard even when the Pentagon suggested that parts of Geneva conventions be ignored for the purpose of dealing with detainees. The General says, "We recognized early on that the guidance we were receiving from the Department of Defense was unclear, unlawful, and it changed frequently. We chose to ground our detention operations squarely on the Geneva Conventions."

Showing concerned for the treatment of American forces, Batiste says, "I totally agree with General Powell. We dare not give up the morale high ground that we're on right now. We must maintain the Geneva Conventions the way that they are to protect our own service men and women should they ever be captured. If we tinker with these documents in any way, it's just flat wrong. We must set the example in this world."

General Batiste was one of the first retired Generals to call for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In the interview with CNN, Batiste accused Rumsfeld's of allowing America to go down the slippery slope which has lead to the morally questionable bill that the Bush Administration is lobbying for now. Reiterating his prior call for Rumsfeld's ouster, he says, "I feel more strongly now than I ever have that Donald Rumsfeld needs to go. He set the conditions for all of this to happen. Abu Ghraib which was a direct result of these unclear and unlawful rules of treatment of detainees and interrogations. His incredibly poor judgement -- his terrible strategic planning -- lead us to where we are today and I applaud our elected leader who are finally stepping up to the plate -- both Republicans and Democrats -- to ask the right questions. God bless them. They're doing what we elected them to do -- to hold people accountable."