Wartime Ethics
9:56 am
Fri June 20, 2014

A Discussion Of U.S. Torture With Brigadier General David R. Irvine

In the aftermath of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq questions remain concerning how the U.S. waged those wars. Among them, did we follow the Geneva Conventions, or did we abuse the rights of our enemies? And how are we responsible for our actions as a nation at war?

In a recent event titled “Exposing the Truth of U.S. Torture,” a panel of concerned citizens examined questions of our rights and obligations in wartime.

The keynote speaker was Brigadier General David R. Irvine, an Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years. He is a member of the bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment of the nonprofit organization, The Constitution Project. He and his colleagues have compiled a 600 page report on U.S. held detainees at Guantánamo, Afghanistan, Iraq and CIA “black sites."

General Irvine was joined on stage by UW professor Rob Crawford, Congressman Jim McDermott, UW professor Beth Rivin, Reverend Rich Lang and Scott Roehm of the Constitution Project.

The event took place at Seattle’s University Temple United Methodist Church on June 3rd, 2014.

President George W. Bush asserted that the U.S. did not use torture in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Yet Vice President Dick Cheney said “We have to work the dark side… using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies.”

President Obama repudiated the use of torture, but chose to look forward, declining an examination of past actions. Obama wants to close down the prison at Guantanamo, but has not been able to achieve that goal.

This past April the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted to declassify and make public the findings and conclusions of its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. The documents have been sent to Obama and the CIA for declassification. They are expected to be made public in some form this summer.

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