Mar 07 2016

Graham Requests Answers Regarding Legality of Possible Presidential Orders to the Military

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today wrote to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., requesting answers to questions that have been raised about the legality of future presidential orders and whether the military would comply.

A copy of the letter is below and is here.

General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

9999 Joint Staff Pentagon, Room 2D920

Washington, DC 20318

Dear General Dunford:

As a former military lawyer, an author of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and a longtime member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, I have a deep and abiding interest in how our military fights the War on Terror.

One of the things I most admire about you is that your warrior spirit coexists with an ethical underpinning. It makes you, and all who serve in the armed forces, the finest fighting force the world has known.

Recently, questions have been raised about the tactics that have been employed to fight the War on Terror. It has been suggested that the United States should intentionally target terrorist families, including children, who are noncombatants as a reprisal. It has also been suggested that the United States go back to waterboarding and if necessary, use more extreme interrogation techniques.

In light of the renewed debate, I would like your opinion on these matters:

• Is the intentional targeting of noncombatant family members of terrorists legal under the law of war?

• What impact would this policy have on our overall war effort?

• Additionally, please share your views as to whether waterboarding or other extreme interrogation techniques are authorized and legal for the United States military? What impact would their use have on the war effort?

• Finally, if issued orders to target noncombatants, including children, or to use waterboarding or other extreme interrogation techniques, would you view these orders as lawful? In addition, what advice would you provide to service members if such orders were issued?

I appreciate your input and thoughts on this matter. I look forward to working with you to continue to defeat those who seek to destroy our way of life.


Lindsey O. Graham

United States Senator