Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Will Bush Torture Policies Hurt U.S. Military?

Brandon Friedman, Vice Chair of VoteVets.org, makes the argument that the torture policies of the Bush administration, even if never repeated, will harm the U.S. military for generations.  Now, as a former soldier turned Christian pacifist, I have complex loyalties here.  I’m hardly a promoter of any military, but I don’t want to see anyone put in greater danger, so I read on.  In brief, Friedman argues that in Gulf War I, thousands of Iraqi soldiers surrendered to American soldiers en masse because they knew they’d receive better treatment by American soldiers than from their own government.  She shows pictures of similar surrenders from numerous wars over the years and testimony about the expectations of good treatment by the enemy soldiers.  But the revelations of Bush-era torture of anyone they suspected of being an “enemy combatant” (an invented category to try to wiggle around the Geneva Conventions common article 3), she says, will lead many enemy soldiers, in whatever conflict, to fight to the death rather than surrender to U.S. troops.   This raises the danger level to U.S. troops. 

It’s an interesting argument and adds to the case that these policies made all Americans less safe by recruiting new terrorists and making American civilians fair game.

April 30, 2009 - Posted by | torture, U.S. politics


  1. I had not thought of this. A very good point. Unless they had been brainwashed enemy soldiers have typically had no problem with surrender. Now, with this major black mark against us, that may not be the case, especially in the Middle East.

    Comment by Ralph | May 1, 2009

  2. […] the “not making any sense” side of the left. All the soldiers did in fact get good treatment and attacks by terrorists and non-uniformed […]

    Pingback by Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e65v5 | May 1, 2009

  3. It’s a very good argument and makes perfect sense. I think the above commenter’s post has missed the point though.

    Comment by steph | May 2, 2009

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