NYT Highlights a Positive Story about Gen. James Mattis
Discovered Torture was Being Used, Halted It Immediately
The story is here. It begins with Gen. Mattis finding the body of a tortured Iraqi prisoner, says Mattis was furious about it, and moved immediately to stop such treatment.
Colleagues say the general’s handling of the episode reflects his firmly held views against torture and prisoner mistreatment.
In 2006, General Mattis supported Gen. David H. Petraeus of the Army and other military leaders in the development of a new counterinsurgency field manual that highlighted limits on interrogation tactics. “Torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment is never a morally permissible option, even if lives depend on gaining information,” the manual said. “Lose moral legitimacy, lose the war.”–NYT
Political Implications: The legal waiver, which Mattis needs to become Sec. of Defense, will go through smoothly. There was already little opposition to the waiver and this report strengthens his position still further.
It also weakens President-elect Trump’s willingness to reintroduce torture of suspected terrorists, something he advocated during the campaign. He would be overriding the considered judgment of experienced and highly-respected military leaders, Mattis and Petraeus.
Mattis will, of course, be questioned seriously in confirmation hearings about US defense posture and strategy, as he should be. But he nomination will sail through.