[JURIST] A group of retired military leaders have sent a letter [PDF text; press release] to President Bush seeking clarification on the president's plans to enforce a recently passed ban on the use of torture against terror detainees. Last month, when signing the 2006 defense spending bill [text; JURIST report], which contains the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 [JURIST document], President Bush issued a statement [JURIST document] asserting a right to bypass the torture ban [JURIST report] under his commander-in-chief powers. In the letter, 22 retired generals and admirals called for Bush to clarify his statement, saying:
It is incumbent on you as President and Commander-in-Chief to ensure that all senior members of your administration speak with a consistent voice to make clear that the United States now has a single standard of conduct specified in law that governs all interrogations, regardless of the legal status or the location of the detainee being interrogated. Accountability and deterrence have never been more important to end all torture and abuse in America's name, and thereby restore America's reputation in the world. This long overdue corrective action will require strong leadership from you and others in positions of authority.Earlier this month, three leading Republican senators condemned Bush's signing statement [JURIST report] as an attempt to sidestep Congress's clear intent in passing the legislation. Reuters has more.