Monday, December 01st, 2008 | Author:

An American interrogator, who refused to torture prisoners in Iraq to get information, has spoken out about the results of our policies.

It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.

This man is bearding the lion in his den and paying the price. If others in our military showed his courage in speaking out to end the atrocities committed in our name, we might, once again, be proud to be Americans. I’ll end with his thoughts on the real war.

The war after the war is a fight about who we are as Americans. Murderers like Zarqawi can kill us, but they can’t force us to change who we are. We can only do that to ourselves. One day, when my grandkids sit on my knee and ask me about the war, I’ll say to them, “Which one?” Americans, including officers like myself, must fight to protect our values not only from al-Qaeda but also from those within our own country who would erode them.

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Category: Iraq, war
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4 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    I’ll preface this by observing that I’m on record as being opposed to what happend at Abu Ghraib and how the Gitmo situation is being handled.

    Having said that, let us put “atrocities” in proper perspective.

    THIS is what real torture looks like:

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0524072torture1.html

    Tab through the al Qaeda handbook if you have the stomach for it. “The Smoking Gun” isn’t the primary source, the DoD released this info when it was disovered and it was also reported by at least a couple of major news networks.

    The above doesn’t justify what happened at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. But there’s a world of difference between scaring the heck out of someone and sawing off limbs.

  2. akaGaGa says:

    Thisaccount in the WP is not about an isolated incident at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, Mike, so the “rogue” theory does not apply. It’s about common American practices in Iraq in 2006, supported by the top commander. It probably applies today, as well.

    As the author stated, there’s a world of difference between “interrogations based on fear and control, often resulting in torture and abuse;” and his method of “building rapport with suspects, showing cultural understanding and using good old-fashioned brainpower to tease out information.”

    If you are truly opposed to Gitmo and Abu Ghraib torture, as you say you are, then you would be opposed to Iraqi torture in 2006 or today, as well. You would be standing WITH this soldier, demanding change, instead of trying to justify most everything the military does.

    And, yes, you are trying to justify, despite what you claim. Your implied position is that evil justifies evil, as long as it’s “lesser” evil. I don’t believe there is such a thing.

    In my Book, we can’t compare one evil with another. The only thing we can measure evil against is God’s holy law – and every single one of us falls short, whether we “scare the heck out of someone” or “saw off their limbs.”

    That’s why we need Jesus, Mike. If we confess that we have committed evil, and trust in His payment at the cross to save us, then we are forgiven and the Holy Spirit will guide us. If, however, we stand before God on judgment day and try to justify our evil based on someone else’s evil, we will be damned to hell. We can’t save ourselves, no matter how well we may argue.

    Our only valid response to evil comes from Romans 12:17-21:

    Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  3. Mike says:

    I wasn’t attempting to declare this a “rogue” incident. Yes, I was drawing a big line between what went on at Abu Ghraib (as an example), or even what the article’s author took issue with, and with what the terrorists do by comparison.

    I certainly won’t argue with the statement that all sin is equal before the Lord, and I know I’ll answer for mine, great and small alike.

    But the parallel you seem insistent on drawing is akin to folks who see a parent swat his/her child lightly on the butt but claim the parent beat the child to within an inch of its life.

    If your definition of “torture” is anything more than asking a terrorist (or enemy combatant) a question, then we aren’t using the term in the same way. I can call a hammer a saw, it doesn’t make it so.

  4. akaGaGa says:

    Mike, the contrast I am insistent on drawing is between the world’s definition of sin (in this case, the military’s) and God’s definition of sin.

    I once heard an analogy that clarified this for me. Imagine you’re taking a college course, and the only passing grade is 100. It doesn’t matter if you get a 99 and I get a 21 – we both fail.

    The only one who ever got 100 or ever will get 100 is Jesus. By God’s standards, everyone else fails.

    So what can we do? How can we be saved? The only way is to confess that we didn’t get 100 and admit to God that we deserve eternal damnation. Then we need to agree that Jesus did get 100, and He did it on our behalf. We need to humbly ask Him to save us from our sins, and we need to commit our lives to God. If we do that, God is gracious and will forgive all our sins, great and small. At the same time, the Holy Spirit will come and live in us, to teach us right from wrong. Daily, He will convict us of the sin in our hearts. Daily, we can confess that sin, admit to God that we were wrong once again, and be cleansed and ready to move on. The load of guilt we carried before we were saved is washed away and gone forever.

    When I stand before the Lord, Mike, I won’t be answering for my sins, great or small. I’ll be gratefully pointing at Jesus, who answered them for me.

    If you truly believe that you have the power to answer to the Lord for your sins, great or small; if you think it matters to God that you got a 99 and al Qaeda got a 21; if you refuse to humble yourself before God in this life, instead of trying to justify yourself, then you are doomed.