Yesterday the Pentagon released a set of revised guidelines for the interrogation of all detainees. It amounts to a formal acknowledgement that in the “war on terror” we have sometimes overstepped the boundaries of decency and humanity, and have not provided our field operatives a clear sense of what where those boundaries are.
This is a step in the right direction, a reaffirmation of our historic commitment to the rule of law and to the basic rights of all human beings. It’s about doing it right, not just about winning.
However, there are still gaping loopholes. The rules only cover Department of Defense officials on Department of Defense property. There are no prohibitions of secret detention facilities (indeed President Bush affirmed that such secret prisons will continue to be used), no legal oversight for these “unofficial” detention centers, and nothing to prevent government officials from transferring detainees to and from such facilities.
For more on the new guidelines, see the article by Josh White in the Washington Post: New Rules of Interrogation Forbid Use of Harsh Tactics