‘Torture Destroys Our Humanity’
As long as we’re talking about torture, check out this letter that Tom Ricks published from an Army National Guard lieutanant colonel to Charles Krauthammer after Krauthammer’s latest apologia for torture. The whole thing is a tonic of basic decency and strategic wisdom, but this particularly is worth excerpting.
Torture of another human being is illegal, unethical and immoral, and I would be duty bound to disobey any such order…
Before deploying to Iraq last year, I explained these things to my troopers. It is difficult to explain to young (practically) kids, with little experience, and poor knowledge of the world…but if you are caring and committed, and repeat yourself often enough they learn and understand. I told them the most important thing they needed to take away from all their preparations was that while it would be terrible to lose one of them or have one of them seriously physically injured, it would be worse to have them come home physically well and mentally broken because they had somehow lost their humanity. Torture destroys our humanity, and any equivocation (feel free to exercise the Kantian absolutist vs utilitarian argument to your heart’s content) on the matter is just bullshit.
If you’ll forgive the harsh language. According to Ricks, Krauthammer, known worldwide as an exemplar of personal courage, hasn’t responded to the letter. (And good for Ricks for going after a columnist for his own newspaper.)