Collateral Damage at the American Enterprise Institute

Arif Michael Vega, Staff Writer

The Forum, May 2017

Retired general Michael Hayden spoke at the American Enterprise Institute Mar. 25. Hayden  spoke on national security,  stressing the need to raise the bar on collateral damage in military operations. He also spoke on the past and the future of human rights, torture and information security.

Hayden recently wrote the book “Playing to the Edge”, which explores the options and scope of military operations. The scope, he says, is defined by two underlying factors. First, the power granted by legislative bodies and second, the trust with which the public grants military authorities to interpret their directive.

Referring to Guantanamo, Hayden describes the culture of interrogation with respects to waterboarding. “There have only been three cases of waterboarding by the CIA.” He says. “We thought we had the public trust in this matter, and it turns out we did not. Even if it was suddenly legal, there is no way our agents would perform such actions. We do not have the public trust.”

Hayden’s remarks regarding the military offensive in the middle east was simple too. According to Hayden, the military is hampered in its efforts due to excessive restrictions on collateral damage. These restrictions, he argues, result in more civilian casualties from a prolonged war. A war he says would be quickly ended with a broader approach to the efforts.


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