Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

More Torture Talk . . and the Real Torture of War


This stares me in the face last Saturday:

Torture terrorists to protect our own [full letter in Terre Haute Tribune Star is here]

"Let us put it this way. If Mr. Daily was on patrol with four fellow soldiers and they were ambushed by a terrorist cell and one of his comrades was captured, as well as one of the terrorists, would he be willing to accept “waterboarding” to find out where the remaining terrorist had taken our soldier?

"Remember, we [they?] use this on our own soldiers in training and unlike us, the terrorists will likely torture and kill Mr. Daily’s captured comrade on video for all the world to see. Regardless of the outcome, I believe this “torture” is not only acceptable, but moral."

Here's my attempt to not convert Mr. Sherrill to morality, reason and practicality, but just get him off my back. [Sherrill is responding to my letter here.]

Gary Daily here, all safe and sound, but who should I thank? Michael C. Sherrill’s hypothetical puts me out on patrol and gets me ambushed by “Islamo-Fascists.” Thanks, Mike. My hypothetical is this: If Sherrill was part of my patrol and managed to capture an “Islamo-Fascist” would he torture this deluded soul in order get more news and grief from Daily? There’s a tough call.

First, full disclosure: My military career was limited to slogging up and down the red clay hills of Ft. Leonard Wood, Misery. This training fully prepared me to defend the state of Connecticut. Which, I might modestly add, I did with great success.

During my time in the service, not one Commie Ruskie cell managed to ambush any late night bar patrol I was part of. Had they done so, carrying off a slow, stumbling comrade of mine, what would I have done had I gotten my hands around an Atheistic-Commies neck? These guys didn’t have video cameras or put their crimes around the world on the internet, but they did have H-Bombs pointing at America’s heart. Should I torture the hell out of my Atheistic-Commie captive? I don’t think so.

And I came up with this all on my own. No drill Sergeant during my basic training ever got up in my face and presented the above scenario to me, finishing with veins popping in his neck and a clenched jaw, screaming at me: “Private Daily, what would George Washington do in this hypothetical situation?” But even though my training didn’t cover this important potentiality, I still feel that something American inside of me would have been saying: You’re a soldier. You represent the best that is the United States. You do not torture prisoners.

Second, and far more important than the above. The men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are heroes. Each and every one. I love and trust them to remain heroes in spite of the horrors they are being required to endure because of a false and failed foreign policy. Right now, even after all we know, too many arm chair, Rambo types, insist on playing a loud and phoney game of chess with the lives of these brave and courageous men and women. The rest of us, the majority, are far too quiet, too timid as this goes on, on to nowhere.

We should be demanding that our heroes come home safe, come home now. It’s past time to really support the troops.

_____________
And unless I hear something really new on this subject, I will have to be physically tortured to comment on torture again. There was never a case to be made for torture. Why poke at it with emotional sticks and horrible hypotheticals. It deserves to be left to the historians of the inquistion and the Bush administration.

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