Thursday, October 06, 2005

Honor In War

Yesterday, the US Senate voted to bar cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of military detainees by any American personnel anywhere in the world

Led by Vietnam-hero John McCain, this vote was a 90-9 rebuke of the White House that outrageously insists it will hinder its ability to wage our necessary war on terror.

Only a soldier knows what honor in war is all about. Senator McCain was taken prisoner of war and had his life almost beaten out of him in Vietcong prisons -- where he chose to stay inspite of being the son of a US Admiral, a privilege that he could have easily used to earn himself an early freedom. But he was an honorable man and would not leave other soldiers behind.

The warrior's words are instructive:

I have been asked before where did the brave men I was privileged to serve with in Vietnam draw the strength to resist to the best of their ability the cruelties inflicted on them by our enemies. Well, we drew strength from our faith in each other, from our faith in God, and from our faith in our country. Our enemies didn’t adhere to the Geneva Convention. Many of my comrades were subjected to very cruel, very inhumane and degrading treatment, a few of them even unto death. But everyone of us knew, every single one of us knew and took great strength from the belief that we were different from our enemies, that we were better than them, that we, if the roles were reversed, would not disgrace ourselves by committing or countenancing such mistreatment of them. That faith was indispensable not only to our survival, but to our attempts to return home with honor. Many of the men I served with would have preferred death to such dishonor.

Andrew Sullivan has posted his entire -- must-read -- statement.

As unrelenting supporters of the war on terror, and in Iraq, we stand with Senator McCain. We also hope that the high warrior ideal he champions is the same that India's armed forces embrace.

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