How We Treat Detainees

Hysteria over our treatment of detainees in the war on terror continues. Obscured in the fog of political opportunism is the fact that President Bush has specifically ordered that all detainees be treated humanely:

Of course, our values as a Nation…call for us to treat detainees humanely, including those who are not legally entitled to such treatment…As a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.

Yesterday, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley made this basic point once more:

President Bush’s directive banning the torture of terror suspects applies to all prisoners – even if held in a secret prison reportedly set up by the CIA for its most important al-Qaida captives, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley would not confirm or deny the existence of a secret, Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe that was described in a Washington Post account. The story said the facility was part of a covert prison system set up nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries.

Hadley said that “while we have to do what is necessary to defend the country against terrorist attacks and to win the war on terror, the president has been very clear that we’re going to do that in a way that is consistent with our values.” “And that is why he’s been very clear that the United States will not torture,” Hadley said, responding to questions at a White House briefing. “The United States will conduct its activities in compliance with law and international obligations.”

Of course, leftists will claim that President Bush didn’t really mean it when he ordered that all detainees be treated humanely. But if that were the case, why is it that service members who violate the President’s directive are criminally prosecuted?

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