Opinion

Yes, torture is OK with cockroaches

“I read your column about the necessity for cruelty (in forcing captured prisoners of war to give information) and the acts you quoted were, indeed, cruel, inhumane and degrading. It WAS torture,” writes a reader who signs as “A Voice of Reason.”

“You said it was appropriate conduct because we were at war. We are not at war. Just who are we at war with? Iraq? Afghanistan? I think not. We are not at war with North Korea or Iran (yet). We are at war with terrorism. The war on terror. What a catchy phrase.

“So where is this terrorism place? Who are these people with whom we are at war? Where is their army, their navy, their air force? They have no soldiers? No sailors? No fliers? No marines? No tanks? No aircraft carriers? No fighter planes? Wait a minute, what kind of war is this?

“The president has been telling us over and over again that we are at war and with the help of so many of his friends and the media (who have always known that war sells newspapers), you have bought into it hook, line and sinker. You actually condone torture, anything is OK because we are at war.

“The 20 people who took over those airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not soldiers, sailors or marines. They weren’t Iraqis. They were not agents of any foreign power. They were criminals. We should hunt down those who conspired to help them, but are we at war with them? I think not. Should we torture people to find them? I think not. Should we try to find out what makes them tick? Why they are so mad at us? I think that would be a good idea.

“Twenty criminals hijack a few airplanes with box knives and you are willing to give up your personal freedoms. You seem willing to rescind the Bill of Rights. Who cares about free speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure? Turn those thumbscrews. We are at war. We live in the U.S. of A. Do we want to let 20 criminals with box knives change that? If we torture people and we think that is OK, they have won.”

I rarely respond to anonymous letters, but letters to the editor in the newspapers I read tell me there are many who agree with this reader. The incident I wrote of that triggered this response was in a book by Gen. George S. Patton’s nephew, who told of watching a captured spy being questioned by the French Underground during World War II.

The prisoner was ordered to kneel on a metal fender in front of a fireplace while holding his arms out. He did so until the pain to his knees and arms was so intense he gave in, saying who his fellow spies were and their targets.

This war is extraordinary because we were attacked without provocation by Muslim extremists whose goal was to destroy us as unbelievers in their religion, infidels.

The 19 men (not 20 — we short stopped the 20th) who killed more than 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11 did not seek money or power or land. Their aim, and that of their cohorts, was — and is — to eliminate unbelievers, even if they have to die themselves to do it.

They emanate from no single land so we could strike them at home. They are scattered all over the world like cockroaches. The reason, I believe, we haven’t had a repeat of Sept. 11 is because we swiftly picked up known al Qaeda members and locked them away so we probably have ringleaders who otherwise would be launching further attacks.

Yes, I approve of intensive interrogation, and warrantless wiretapping of Americans who aid the enemy. We are at war in Iraq because that is under the kitchen sink to many of the cockroaches trying to kill us.

We can’t kill them all, but we can thin their ranks.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.

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