1.) A letter to the New Yorker from the Dean of the Academic Board at West Point, Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan:
Torture is wrong under any circumstances. As General David H. Petraeus recently remarked (specifically referring to Abu Ghraib and to Guantánamo), such abusive techniques are “nonbiodegradable. . . . The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick.”
Prisoners held for months without charge in a secret jail in Baghdad were subjected to horrific torture over a period of months – including electric shocks and rape, claims suggest.[…]
“I can assure you that this is not institutionalised,” says Saad Yousif al-Mouttalebi, a prospective member of parliament for the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition.
“There are individual acts of cruelty to inmates. Some have been reported. This is a matter that we do not tolerate at any level whatsoever.
Sound familiar? Looks like someone took their lessons from the George W. Bush school of torture denial.
3.) So we went to Iraq in the first place to unseat a terrible dictator who tortured and murdered his own citizens. Then, we had to torture and murder people, too, in order to make things peaceful again. Now that things are back to a “normal level of violence” we are ready to hand things over to the new leaders, who torture and murder Iraqi citizens.
Money well spent, if you ask me.
In addition, how strange it is to see Republicans suddenly disagreeing with generals. I seem to remember it being un-American to disagree with Gen. Petraeus. Now, the Republicans disagree with him on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, torture, Iraq War strategy and military spending. I’d like to finish with something that Gen. Finnegan says:
Consider a war we fought in the past against a brutal enemy that tortured and killed prisoners, executed civilians, and engaged in a number of atrocities. Several American leaders argued that the only way to prevail was to engage in the same kind of tactics, because that was the only thing that the enemy understood or respected (sound familiar?). But other leaders believed that it was not enough to win; they also had to do it in a way that was consistent with the values of their society and the principles of their cause. That conflict was the Revolutionary War, and the leaders included George Washington and John Adams. If we mean what we say—if we really believe that we’re the good guys, and I hope we do—then this is the time to stand by those principles which our Founding Fathers professed and lived by. That’s what, I hope, makes us the leaders of the free world.
I hope so, too, but I’m less sure than I once was.