On McCain & torture

Posted: November 21, 2005

I, LIKE Michael Smerconish, hope John McCain runs for president again, too.

As does Smerconish, I like McCain. I like him because he is honest. And because I believe him to be a good man.

McCain understands that torture is bad. It is, in fact, evil. He understands, unlike George Bush, Dick Cheney and apparently Philadelphia's own Michael Smerconish, that as the purported good guys in this "war" or any other, the U.S. shouldn't have torture as accepted policy.

Simply stated, I believe that the U.S. should be what I was taught it was growing up - the good guy, the leader of the free world. The bad guys torture; the bad guys deliberately target civilians. (Try to ignore Bear River, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, My Lai, etc.) The good guy (that's us) tries to stop the bad guys from doing all these nasty things. But the good guys have to try to stop the bad guys without becoming them.

What happens in the heat of battle on the streets of Fallujah is one thing. What happens in CIA prisons in Eastern Europe is another. Mr. Guarnere, I'm sure, did what he had to do to support his fellow troops and complete his assigned missions, and in the process, kill or capture German soldiers. But, in the case of a capture, did he then routinely torture captives for information or revenge? I doubt it. If he did, he did wrong.

Michael S. Taddei

Ridley Park

Michael Smerconish, instead of addressing the fundamental question of whether torture of prisoners is effective, tries to draw some sort of parallel between the need for viciousness on the battlefield and viciousness in dealing with detainees.

If "Wild Bill" Guarnere had been an interrogator in World War II and had stories about how much information he got from the Germans by beating the snot out of them, the article might make sense.

However, all we know from the article is that "Wild Bill" gave 'em hell on the battlefield. As far as I know, Sen. McCain never said that's a bad thing.

Matt Gray

Wallingford

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