Unpersuaded on the use of torture

May 10, 2009 

Unethical means

At a church in Raleigh last year, a young Army soldier who was an interrogator in Iraq publically confessed about how many innocent Iraqis were tortured. He so deeply regretted his part in this that, being called back to Iraq, he would not go. He took responsibility and turned himself in. He was court-martialed, found guilty and did some time in the brig. I wonder how that soldier feels about our government's not taking responsibility, not even investigating, crimes of torture?

How many innocent Iraqis have been tortured? How are we to compensate those innocents for our injustice, when we will not investigate the crimes? How can we fix the conscience of America, if we cover up our brutality?

There are enlisted people serving time for obeying torture orders at Abu Ghraib. Following orders did not excuse them from responsibility. I wonder how they feel about those who gave the orders not taking responsibility.

I don't think anyone thinks torture is ethical. We rationalize its use to save lives. But justifying an immoral means by a moral ends doesn't make the means moral. Should we investigate crimes of torture? Not investigating them would be unjust. But we rationalize this injustice by saying we have so many more urgent problems to work on. Admirable ends do not justify ignorance.

Wally Myers

Coordinator, NC Triangle Veterans For Peace


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