Would you torture someone to save a friend?

May 15, 2007 9:23am

"Earlier this month, our Army released the results of an internally initiated survey of soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The results showed that almost half of our troops would condone torture in a specific instance if it saved their buddies’ lives," writes Ralph Peters in the New York Post (CLICK HERE TO READ).

"The media were, of course, appalled. I was shocked, too – surprised that so few of our troops would condone any action that kept their comrades alive."

General David Petraeus seemed to have a complete opposite reaction to that survey, which you can READ HERE)

Some excerpts:

"Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy. This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we—not our enemies—occupy the moral high ground. This strategy has shown results in recent months. Al Qaeda’s indiscriminate attacks, for example, have finally started to turn a substantial portion of the Iraqi population against it.

"In view of this, I was concerned by the results of a recently released survey conducted last fall in Iraq that revealed an apparent unwillingness on the part of some US personnel to report illegal actions taken by fellow members of their units. The study also indicated that a small percentage of those surveyed may have mistreated noncombatants. This survey should spur reflection on our conduct in combat…

"Seeing a fellow trooper killed by a barbaric enemy can spark frustration, anger, and a desire for immediate revenge. As hard as it might be, however, we must not let these emotions lead us—or our comrades in arms—to commit hasty, illegal actions. In the event that we witness or hear of such actions, we must not let our bonds prevent us from speaking up.

"Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary. Certainly, extreme physical action can make someone ‘talk’; however, what the individual says may be of questionable value. In fact our experience in applying the interrogation standards laid out in the Army Field Manual (2-22.3) on Human Intelligence Collector Operations that was published last year shows that the techniques in the manual work effectively and humanely in eliciting information from detainees…

"We should use the survey results to renew our commitment to the values and standards that make us who we are and to spur re-examination of these issues. Leaders, in particular, need to discuss these issues with their troopers—and, as always, they need to set the right example and strive to ensure proper conduct. We should never underestimate the importance of good leadership and the difference it can make."

(Hat tip, Andrew).

On a lighter note –  Law and Order breeds a political class — READ MORE HERE

And on Good Morning America this a.m. — DOT COM VERSION HERE and the FREE VIDEO IS HERE — the mounds of undisclosed information the presidential hopefuls are NOT sharing with you, the voter.

What say you?

– jpt

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