Former Secretary of State Colin Powell sent a letter to Senator John McCain Wednesday arguing against Bush’s proposal to narrow the scope of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to allow torture of detainees by U.S. personnel. This led the Senate panel considering the issue to break against Bush’s proposal 15-9. The New York Times covered the story:
Mr. Powell, a former four-star Army general who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and had a leadership role in the Persian Gulf war of 1991, said in his letter to Mr. McCain that redefining Common Article 3 would only deepen worldwide doubts about America’s moral stature.
“Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk,” Mr. Powell said in his letter to Mr. McCain. Critics of the Bush administration approach have argued that, if the United States is seen to be mistreating captives, Americans who are taken prisoner could be subjected to cruelty.
. . .
In 2002, despite his misgivings about the coming war, Mr. Powell argued the Bush administration’s case before the United Nations, asserting that there was strong evidence that the Baghdad regime had deadly unconventional weapons. When those weapons failed to materialize after Mr. Hussein was deposed, Mr. Powell was said to be hurt and angry.
Powell’s performance at the U.N. is still up on the White House website. I guess the administration doesn’t see any reason to take it down, since they’ve never admitted any wrongdoing in the lead-up to war. The headline says it all: “Iraq: Denial and Deception.”