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Gen. Ricardo Sanchez Wants Truth Commission
FIRST MAJOR FIGURE IN IRAQ THEATER TO CALL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY FOR WAR CRIMES: RETIRED GENERAL RICARDO SANCHEZ CALLS FOR TRUTH COMMISSION AT CULTURE PROJECT'S "BLUEPRINT FOR ACCOUNTABILITY" LAUNCH
(New York, NY) -- On May 31st at 7PM, Culture Project presented an event directed by Fisher Stevens at The Times Center that convened Rachel Maddow, General Ricardo Sanchez, Vince Warren and Ron Suskind to launch its Blueprint for Accountability series. At the event, panelists explored solutions to some of the challenges facing our country.
General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top coalition commander in Iraq, called for a Truth Commission so we might fully understand the failure of the military and civilian command to honor the pledge of our constitution.
Sanchez is the first General to go on record to call for a Truth Commission, and stressed that the outcome must embrace a variety of solutions, including prosecution.
Sanchez stated, "When the president made the declaration that the Geneva Conventions no longer apply, we unleashed the hounds of hell and eliminated all the foundations for the training, ethics and structure we had built into our soldiers and our leaders for how to conduct these kinds of operations."
Sanchez stated many problems could be traced to loyalties to individuals and political parties.
Rachel Maddow stressed that laws were passed prohibiting torture precisely because there is evidence it may work, and in times of grave consequence individuals and governments are likely to be tempted to implement such techniques.
Vince Warren, who moderated South Africa's historic truth and reconciliation hearings in 1997 and Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pressed for criminal prosecutions as the only way to provide an effective response to abuses and prevent future abuse. He stated, "If there was a credible fear for these people to go to jail, we might never have seen this."
Ron Suskind wrapped up the evening by talking about the crucial task of restoring our moral energy in the world, the key source of our power to protect ourselves and transform the wider world.
Allan Buchman, Founder and Artistic Director of Culture Project said, "The event was an extraordinary evening of audience access to unprecedented knowledge. I think the evening helped everyone arrive at meaningful progress in their understanding of the issues and their shared humanity."
Other participants in the event on May 31 included Liev Schreiber, John Leguizamo, Noah Emmerich and Julianna Margulies.
Video content of the event is available upon request.
Culture Project is New York City's premier destination for artistic work that champions the most pressing human rights issues of our time. Showered with media praise and honors, including New York Times' #1 Play of the Year (2003) Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award (2005) a Drama Desk Award (2003) an Outer Critics Circle Award (2003) and Lucille Lortel Awards (2003, 2008) Culture Project prides itself on providing a creative home to dynamic artists who share its passion for taking risks and creating work that amplifies marginalized voices. By fostering innovative collaboration between human rights organizations and theatre, music and film artists, Culture Project aims to inspire and impact public dialogue and policy, encouraging democratic participation in the most urgent matters of our time.
Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones' Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Lawrence Wright's My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning World Premiere of George Packer's Betrayed and Temple University's acclaimed production of In Conflict. Most recently, Culture Project produced a groundbreaking concert at the United Nations, Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum that commemorated the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.