I have liked John McCain for a long time, and now he has taken a stand on torture and interrogation. Chip Read on MSNBC’s first read comments on this as a matter of conscience. I’m amazed, despite everything that has already happend in the war on terror, that this is entirely an issue. I’m deeply disturbed that leaders in the administration have taken the stand that they have.
From the moral point of view this should be a no brainer. From the point of view of international politics, it should be a no brainer. I served as aircrew in the Air Force. Aircrew always face the possibility that they will be shot down and captured by the enemy. Don’t imagine me being wondrously heroic or anything. I didn’t feel threatened. But when your job is one in which you could get into that position you do give it a little thought.
One of the few bright spots in that horror we call war is the Geneva Convention. It’s more honored in the breach than otherwise, but it’s still a bright spot. We shouldn’t play with that. It’s wrong morally, and it’s dangerous politically. This is a place we need to listen to the international community and play good citizen on the world scene. When Christians support this sort of thing I truly have to wonder whether they’ve even passed the idea somewhere near their Christian principles.
There are times when we need to challenge the international community. When other countries supply money to terrorists, or make it easy for them to transfer it, that is a reason to take some sort of action. They’re aiding and abetting criminals.
But when they ask us not to torture, that’s a request for us to live up to our principles. True, many of these same countries will engage in torture. But if we don’t live up to a higher standard ourselves, we may come to the next stage–or the next–of this war on terror and find out that we have come more and more to resemble our opponents.
That’s too high a price to pay.