I had considered expanding on my original statement regarding torture, to make my position even more clear. I could still do that, but this exchange with Jerry probably says it as well as needed:
Jerry: I do apologize for this, but I'm not sure I understand why you feel that way?
Would please expound on why our "intelligence" community should decline such implements as you object too?
Thanks for writing. We as citizens of the United States are arguably fighting to save the best elements of our way of life from incursion. We cannot do this if we become what we are fighting.
Cruel and unusual punishments are specifically prohibited by Article 8 of the Bill of Rights. President Bush swore an oath to " preserve, protect and defend the Constitution". Torture is clearly a "cruel and unusual punishment".
There are reasons why torture is a poor instrument to extract intelligence, but that is really outside the main issue, which is the legality of torture by the US and proxies: it is clearly illegal, and further, it is immoral, despicable, and worthy of a third-world hellhole, not what was once the proud bastion of the free world.
I am sorry if you feel otherwise. I've killed men, women, and children in the line of duty (messy when combatants with heavy weapons hide behind their families), but I've never tortured anyone.
Jerry: As I also took the oath to obey the orders…. I feel the Constitution is for American Citizens. I get upset when we extend those same freedoms we fight and bleed for to those who want to take them away from us.
Sorry, but we’ll have to disagree on this one.
I do understand your viewpoint.
I can see on an individual scale- sibling/child being kidnapped, for instance- using torture to extract information. I cannot agree with attempted legitimization of torture by our government, even if it's not used against US citizens. Using torture is bad for the torturer, and also gives flawed data, to name two easy reasons why it's not a useful tool.
And it's wrong. The United States is great because it is different. We are the fabled place where absolutely anyone can go to make a new and better life for themself, regardless of the color of their skin or where they're from. We are only great because we are good, and as we become less good, we become less great. That goodness is much more effective than any small gains anyone believes we can make by torturing those we hold captive, even if "they really deserve it".
Jerry: As soldiers we were told not to treat our enemies with the same contempt that they treated us. When we captured them we were to follow set rules to transport them to facilities where “professionals” would take care of them.
I will not in good conscience allow an enemy of the U.S. to profit from our Constitution. While I agree that the U.S. is a great Country I also acknowledge that America became great because of the willingness of people to defend to the death our Constitution. Our politicians are selling us out. They want us to believe the tripe the spew while they line their own nest. We are fighting a just battle. I fear we will be fighting on another front much closer next time if we do not allow experts to perform their duties. Those privileged few who enjoy the extra attention because they have useful information will find a much more obliging host when they willingly provide all information they possess.
While I do not agree with all that President Bush has done I do believe he is vastly superior in his judgment’s than any alternative presented during the last election.
Now, I preferred Bush to other alternatives, especially back at the beginning of the crisis. I'm not certain if I would have charged into Iraq had I been at the helm, but I might have. What I would NOT have done, is to rape the Constitution by forcing through legislation to pseudolegalize unwarranted monitoring of phone calls in the United States. I would not have expanded the definition of "terrorist" to include practically anyone not working for the US government. I would not have played some dodgy little game in which captured combatants might not qualify for the protections they would receive as POWs OR as criminals in the United States, AND I SURE AS HELL WOULD NOT HAVE USED TORTURE.
We as Americans cannot claim the moral high ground as long as this continues. We are becoming evil as a national entity, and in danger of losing our reputation as the home of The Good Things. Governments are necessary evils allowed to exist by the people of their nations, but our government has become something tainted. If it now reflects who the United States truly is, I fear for my country.