Letters to the Editor

Doug Jennette: Making monsters

Eugene Robinson’s Dec. 13 column “ Answering evil with evil” on the use of torture eloquently speaks to the core of an issue we face as a nation: Will we adhere to our deepest principles even when we are afraid, vulnerable, hurt or confused?

Whether it’s Dick Cheney’s “dark side” or Charles Krauthammer’s “by whatever means meet and fit the threat,” we are faced with confronting the damage done, not just to the tortured, but to ourselves when we condone or practice torture. We inflict and incur moral injury, soul wounds, as well as physical and mental anguish under such circumstances. Sen. John McCain knows and speaks the truth about this as a torture victim.

In 1886 the German philosopher Friedrick Nietzsche offered the following warning: “He who fights with monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” Those words are just as relevant in today’s America as they were in 19th century Germany. And I hope our national leaders will remember and courageously speak to our best selves and values as we face the challenges to come.

Doug Jennette