Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We've become our enemies

As some might know, before my legal days I was on track to be an academic in German military history (my master's dissertation was on German troop morale in the First World War). I've spent a lot of time reading about both wars. Nothing has ever shaken my belief that in the Second, we (the Western allies at least) were the good guys, and that, unlike virtually every other war ever fought, the Second was a true struggle of good against evil.

When you compare our armed forces' conduct to theirs, the contrast is staggering.

When you compare our governments' conduct to theirs, the contrast is staggering.

When you compare how we treated prisoners of war, the contrast is staggering.

We didn't torture. We treated prisoners humanely (aside: the Germans did the same, for the most part, to us, precisely because of the Geneva Conventions. They did not to the Russians, because the Russians were not signatories. Just sayin'.)

And now what? Now, we torture. Now, treat prisoners inhumanely. Now, we lock people up in undisclosed locations on the slightest whiff of suspicion, in some gulag archipelago of secret prisons with no access to law or court. We disucuss suspending the writ of Habeas Corpus.

That was how our enemies behaved. It's not how we should be now.

And I'm sure I'll hear that it's a different kind of war with a different kind of enemy. Fine. We're still the good guys, and the good guys behave differently.

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