Tainted by Torture
According to today's New York Times, the Pentagon has quietly canceled its assignment of Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood to be the U.S. military attache to Pakistan. The move apparently reflects concerns within the U.S. government over Hood's prominent role in commanding the Guantanamo Bay facility from 2004 to 2006. Hood's nomination provoked condemnations from many quarters of Pakistan, a nation with a number of citizens detained at Gitmo and many who have been repatriated from there. Said one: "GuantÃ¡namo Bay itself has become a symbol of injustice, torture and abuse of Islam, and sending a commanding officer from there to Islamabad begs the question: What is the message coming out of the Pentagon for Pakistanis by this insensitive act?"
The cancellation of Hood's appointment shows a promising new willingness among senior administration officials to listen to world opinion. It would have been incredibly tone-deaf of us to send an officer with Hood's assignment history to Pakistan -- probably about as smart as using an officer like Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a man with a history of worrisome public comments about Christianity and the war on terrorism, to engage with Arab and Israeli officials. The military attache position in Islamabad deserves a soldier-diplomat par excellence, and unfortunately, that's not Jay Hood.
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