Torture to be considered collateral damage of modern warfare
To the Editor:
The Sept. 21 edition of The Western News printed comments from Patt Truman of Eureka, concerning the torture.
Dear Patt, you are right to be disturbed that our American leaders are arguing the pros and cons of legalizing and defining torture in an attempt to develop policy. The fact is our politicians are not on the battlefield. Consequently, they are unable to make good decisions on how best to complete a mission and ensure the safety of American military personnel.
Americans must accept the fact that war is intrinsically violent. As a result, since everything is horrific in war, it is pointless to single out particular acts for criticism. So in the overall analysis, enduring mortar attacks, suicide bombers or being tortured for information are morally indistinguishable.
Unfortunately, torture must be considered collateral damage of modern warfare. Every American military person is aware of the possibility of being tortured if captured. We have been trained to deal with the situation should it occur. Torture is and always has been an unfortunate side effect of warfare. With that in mind, we are obliged to swallow hard and accept, however regrettably, the trauma and death it may cause.
Finally, Patt I understand your disturbance. However, I also understand that your level of disturbance would be much greater if you found yourself in combat. War itself is torturous. Thus, we must give thanks to Americans who serve their country by placing themselves in harm's way so that the rest of us may sleep peacefully, disturbed or not.
Senior Chief John Barone
U.S. Navy (Ret.)