William Lietzau, the Pentagon detainee policy head with history of defending indefinite detention, now says notorious prison was a mistake
- Andrea Germanos, staff writer
William Lietzau, the Pentagon's top official on detainee policy, made the statement in an interview with the UK's The Mail on Sunday.
Instead, Lietzau told the paper, the prisoners should have been labeled prisoners of war and "held in Afghanistan," or, if they were charged with a crime, they should have been charged in federal courts, not the military commissions—the commissions he helped develop.
Further, he charged, George W. Bush's label of "'the global war on terrorism’ had suffered from a lack of clarity, suggesting that it might be effectively limitless."
On torture at the prison, he said, "There were people who were treated badly, and this is not something we are proud of," and dismissed widespread reports of ongoing torture.
“Lietzau’s right: the ‘war on terror’ was misguided and counterproductive from the start," stated Cori Crider, Strategic Director with the London-based human rights group Reprieve.
William K. Lietzau"The shrinking numbers of Americans who defend Guantánamo need to sit up and listen—now one of Gitmo’s legal architects says it should never have been opened. Of course we can’t un-torture people or give prisoners back their lost years, but we can stop making these terrible mistakes,"
Just over a week ago, Lietzau announced that he would be stepping down from his position.