In the ‘fight of good vs evil’, morality must play a significant part. Our civilization, which is supposedly under threat, is based on a moral code that forms the basis of our imperialist tendencies: to propagate this moral code. This code is fundamentally based within our concept of democracy and is largely shared by the other Western democracies.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell (also retired full General and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS)… a somewhat impressive resume that might only be surpassed by President Eisenhower) wrote a letter to Senator John McCain yesterday spelling out what is essentially the core of the US military’s opposition to the Administration’s interogation plans (available here at WaPo and here at NYT).
- "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism"
- Redefining "Common Article 3 would add to those doubts…[and] put our own troops at risk."
Powell specifically refers to "The Armed Forces Officer" to amplify his position. This manual, originally published in 1950 by then Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall. This is the same George C. Marshall who was a Five-Star General ("General of the Army"), Secretary of State (the Marshall Plan), Secretary of Defense, and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1953). The Armed Forces Officer was "inspired [by] his personal conviction that all American military officers share common ethical and moral ground. Individual services were commanded by men of integrity, honor and great leadership."
From generals attacking Rumsfeld to military lawyers and generals attacking the Administration’s plans, things aren’t peaceful at the Old Soldier’s Home or in the Pentagon right now. The civil-military relationship in the US is clearly chafing under this Administration’s policies, as are many Republicans.
From the New York Times is a fantastic quote from a Republican who sides with Bush:
Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and chairman of the
Homeland Security Committee, said: “I just think John McCain is wrong on this.
If we capture bin Laden tomorrow and we have to hold his head under water to
find out when the next attack is going to happen, we ought to be able to do it.”
I’m surprised Rep King didn’t demand Bruce Willis to be the main interogator, but maybe that was left out of the story for space reasons…