March 29, 2009

Gen. David Petraeus told CNN's John King that the military didn't order torture while Bush was president. "Was the line crossed? Did you do things which you fundamentally thought were wrong and immoral? " asked King.

"We certainly did not. There were incidents that did and we learned hard lessons from Abu Ghraib and we believe we took corrective measures in the wake of that," said Petraeus.

The General also said that he "wouldn't necessarily agree" with former Vice President Cheney's assertion that President Obama's terrorism policies were putting the country at greater risk.

John Amato:

When Gen. Petraeus says there is a good debate going on about "values," is he saying that under George Bush and Dick Cheney there was no such debate? Was it a veiled swipe at them?

And he did not wholeheartedly support President Obama against the charge from Cheney, who said we are less safer now. He should have been unequivocal in his support for his new commander in chief and said categorically that we are safe.

He's a political animal now that was created by the Bush administration to shift the failure of the Iraq war away from #43 to a general in the military, which was to squash as much criticism as they could from the media. Rove and Co. knew that the media would shy away from leveling tough criticism at the feet of a military man.

CNN transcript:

KING: Do you believe the president of the United States has made Americans less safe?

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I do. He is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.


KING: General Petraeus, you served in the Bush administration under Vice President Cheney and President Bush. You're now serving in the Obama administration. Are the American people less safe because of this new president, as Vice President Cheney says?

PETRAEUS: Well, I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, John. I think that, in fact, there is a good debate going on about the importance of values in all that we do. I think that, if one violates the values that we hold so dear, that we...

KING: You mean torture?

PETRAEUS: ... we jeopardize -- well, in fact, I put out a memorandum to the soldiers in the Multinational Force-Iraq, when I was the commander, because of concern that we may not be taking some of these seriously enough.

As you know, the field manual came out, from the Army, that is used by all of the different services that completely, clearly outlaws torture. So we think for the military, in particular, that can't -- that's a line that can't be crossed.


KING: So was the line crossed in the Bush administration?

Was the line crossed? Did you do things which you fundamentally thought were wrong and immoral?

PETRAEUS: We certainly did not. Now, there were some incidents that did, and we learned some very hard lessons from Abu Ghraib and other cases. And we believe that we took corrective measures in the wake of that. And that is very, very important.

But it is hugely significant to us to live the values that we hold so dear and that we have fought so hard to protect over the years.

King never let him finish off his answer to the Cheney question entirely and went after the torture aspect. He should have waited for his complete answer to it and then moved on. Why did Petraeus bring up "values"in his answer? We are either safe or not.

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