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  1. #1
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    Default Torture

    1. It's illegal.
    2. It's immoral.
    3. It leads to bad intelligence, corrupts good intelligence, and confessions stemmed from torture are inadmissible in court.
    4. It damages respect and rapport for the US abroad, both among allies and enemies.
    5. It puts our troops in greater danger of being tortured when they are captured as POWs.
    6. It damages our credibility to condemn torture when done by other regimes.
    7. It disrespects the humanity of all involved - the torturer, the victim, and the leadership and society that gives its approval.

    Questions? Comments? Ideas for what should be done to repair the damage done by those in the US government who authorized torture?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MacG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdf View Post
    1. It's illegal.
    2. It's immoral.
    3. It leads to bad intelligence, corrupts good intelligence, and confessions stemmed from torture are inadmissible in court.
    4. It damages respect and rapport for the US abroad, both among allies and enemies.
    5. It puts our troops in greater danger of being tortured when they are captured as POWs.
    6. It damages our credibility to condemn torture when done by other regimes.
    7. It disrespects the humanity of all involved - the torturer, the victim, and the leadership and society that gives its approval.

    Questions? Comments? Ideas for what should be done to repair the damage done by those in the US government who authorized torture?
    Defining torture is subjective. We have cruel and unusual punishment laws on the books that were written when things like draw and quartering (pulling a guy apart by ropes and 4 horses) were around. So we invented humane ways of execution that were less painful. Then some one reads about cruel and unusual and the point of reference is the current humane way (long forgetting about buried alive with your head exposed in the desert waiting for the animals and insects to come around) and it gets labeled inhumane so it changes to a new relative humane. I just watched the Discovery Channel's Machines of Malice and I got to tell a little water boarding on 3 individuals it not so bad compare and see. Remember the Governments are set in place by God and does not bear the sword in vain. This is one of the hardest truths for me to get a grasp on in the Bible.

    MacG

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    Defining torture is subjective.
    To an extent that's correct; determining the exact delineation where cruel treatment crosses the line into torture is a bit fuzzy. Which is why most of the time when it's defined, such as the Geneva Conventions or the UN Convention on Torture, it is phrased as "torture and other inhumane treatment or punishment".

    With regard to some of the specific techniques authorized by the US government - beatings, forced nudity, forced standing, stress positions, exposure to heat and extreme cold to the point of hypothermia, religious and sexual desecration, controlled drowning, etc. - these things are, and always have been, torture.

    We have cruel and unusual punishment laws on the books that were written when things like draw and quartering (pulling a guy apart by ropes and 4 horses) were around. So we invented humane ways of execution that were less painful. Then some one reads about cruel and unusual and the point of reference is the current humane way (long forgetting about buried alive with your head exposed in the desert waiting for the animals and insects to come around) and it gets labeled inhumane so it changes to a new relative humane.
    One, we're not talking about punishment - torture was ostensibly used in conjunction with interrogation. Two, this was not connected with any specific crimes - the victims of the US system of torture had not been convicted of anything, and their habeus corpus rights had been suspended so they couldn't even request to know why they were detained.

    I just watched the Discovery Channel's Machines of Malice and I got to tell a little water boarding on 3 individuals it not so bad compare and see.
    "Not as bad as..." the most horrible torture devices ever invented is not a very good heuristic for determining the morality of a course of action.

    And to waterboard a person 183 times over the course of a month, after he had been cooperative with interrogators, is actually pretty bad.

    Remember the Governments are set in place by God and does not bear the sword in vain. This is one of the hardest truths for me to get a grasp on in the Bible.

    MacG
    You have to remember that those who wrote those words were the persecuted, not the persecutors. To use those verses in support of the government carrying out immoral acts is to get it entirely upside-down. The scriptures were written to comfort those who were being repressed and victimized by a cruel, godless regime - to know that ultimately, God is in control and it was [his] place to vindicate [his] people.

    Shalom,
    asdf

  4. #4
    Senior Member MacG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdf View Post
    ...torture and other inhumane treatment or punishment".
    So which leads me to this related side bar: is it humane to lock a free willed human in a cage for the rest of his life?

    One, we're not talking about punishment - torture was ostensibly used in conjunction with interrogation. Two, this was not connected with any specific crimes - the victims of the US system of torture had not been convicted of anything, and their habeus corpus rights had been suspended so they couldn't even request to know why they were detained.
    They are enemies of the State. Like mom said be careful who you ***ociate with.

    And to waterboard a person 183 times over the course of a month, after he had been cooperative with interrogators, is actually pretty bad.
    Every 4 hours for a month?

    You have to remember that those who wrote those words were the persecuted, not the persecutors. To use those verses in support of the government carrying out immoral acts is to get it entirely upside-down. The scriptures were written to comfort those who were being repressed and victimized by a cruel, godless regime - to know that ultimately, God is in control and it was [his] place to vindicate [his] people.
    I wonder how much comfort to these words were:" 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. " while being crucified burned as lamps to know if you resist authority you resist the ordinance of God. I realize there are verses that say to count it as a blessing to suffer in the same way as Christ.

    As I said this is one of the most difficult things to understand how God gave Sadam "authority". I see the pattern of God using the unrighteous nation to discipline the backslidden nation and vice versa. It is difficult none the less.

    MacG

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    So which leads me to this related side bar: is it humane to lock a free willed human in a cage for the rest of his life?
    I have no issue with following the standard definitions of humane treatment in detention, punishment and/or rehabilitation.

    On the other hand, it is not humane to detain anyone the president decides (citizen or non-), without being accused of a crime, for as long as the president decides, with no access to legal counsel. Habeus rights have existed in every civilized society since at least the Magna Carta.

    They are enemies of the State. Like mom said be careful who you ***ociate with.
    No. Some were not enemies of the state at all. Would you like some reading material?

    Every 4 hours for a month?
    I guess so. Pretty horrific, no?

    I wonder how much comfort to these words were:" 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. " while being crucified burned as lamps to know if you resist authority you resist the ordinance of God. I realize there are verses that say to count it as a blessing to suffer in the same way as Christ.

    As I said this is one of the most difficult things to understand how God gave Sadam "authority". I see the pattern of God using the unrighteous nation to discipline the backslidden nation and vice versa. It is difficult none the less.

    MacG
    Again, I think that the context of these earliest Christians being the victims, not the "authority", is key here. They did not have the option of voting in a new Emperor if they didn't like the treatment under Vespasian, let alone deposing the tyrant through force of arms.

    Jesus himself opposed those who favored revolt against the occupying forces, warning them that their agenda of violence would lead to devastation. The earliest followers of Jesus "turned the world upside-down", and in so doing, were called atheists because they refused to bow to the gods of empire.

    Shalom,
    asdf

  6. #6
    Senior Member disciple's Avatar
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    Greetings,
    Interesting comments by everyone. I would like to add that in America, our law enforcement, military and government are mostly non-Christian and as such
    probably feel no moral obligation to adhere to any non torture/brutality code or law. There will always be someone willing to do anything to another human being to get information and it is also human nature for most people to silently agree to this. After all, the day after 9-11 we would have tortured Mother Theresa to find the ones responsable. Here is something that will always be true, you will reap what you sow and there will never be peace or righteousness untill Jesus returns.

  7. #7
    GiGi
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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Greetings,
    Interesting comments by everyone. I would like to add that in America, our law enforcement, military and government are mostly non-Christian and as such
    probably feel no moral obligation to adhere to any non torture/brutality code or law. There will always be someone willing to do anything to another human being to get information and it is also human nature for most people to silently agree to this. After all, the day after 9-11 we would have tortured Mother Theresa to find the ones responsable. Here is something that will always be true, you will reap what you sow and there will never be peace or righteousness untill Jesus returns.
    Who told you that law enforcement, military, and government is made of of (mostly) non-christians? Who told you how these non-christians probably "feel"? What makes you think most people silently agree with torture? No one I know would subject Mother Teresa, or anyone else to torture.
    I agree that 'you reap what you sow'. In other words, one thing will tend to follow another in a logical and predictible manner.

  8. #8
    Senior Member disciple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGi View Post
    Who told you that law enforcement, military, and government is made of of (mostly) non-christians? Who told you how these non-christians probably "feel"? What makes you think most people silently agree with torture? No one I know would subject Mother Teresa, or anyone else to torture.
    I agree that 'you reap what you sow'. In other words, one thing will tend to follow another in a logical and predictible manner.
    Hi GiGi,
    So you believe that the majority of policemen, soilders and government officials are followers of Jesus Christ? It is my opinion that that is not the case. As far as knowing how non-Christians or Christians feel for that matter, I base that statement on observing human nature and most people put thier own interests and safety first. I think most people silently agree with torture because most people overtly agree with killing live babies in thier mothers womb. The Mother Teresa statement was an exaggeration to make a point.

  9. #9
    GiGi
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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Hi GiGi,
    So you believe that the majority of policemen, soilders and government officials are followers of Jesus Christ? It is my opinion that that is not the case. As far as knowing how non-Christians or Christians feel for that matter, I base that statement on observing human nature and most people put thier own interests and safety first. I think most people silently agree with torture because most people overtly agree with killing live babies in thier mothers womb. The Mother Teresa statement was an exaggeration to make a point.
    As long as we all know that your statements here have no facts to back them up, we can take it for what its worth. Comments like these serve only to get people riled up unless we know not to take them seriously.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Greetings,
    Interesting comments by everyone. I would like to add that in America, our law enforcement, military and government are mostly non-Christian and as such probably feel no moral obligation to adhere to any non torture/brutality code or law.
    Perhaps. But why would it be that the so-called Religious Right has become the greatest apologist for the use of torture and brutality?

    Our laws, military codes, and conventions to which we are signatories are designed to be faith-neutral, i.e., they can and must be followed by people of all, or no, religious faith.

    There will always be someone willing to do anything to another human being to get information and it is also human nature for most people to silently agree to this. After all, the day after 9-11 we would have tortured Mother Theresa to find the ones responsable.
    I agree, more or less, which is why we have laws written before the "heat of the moment" to guide our behavior, to prevent us from committing atrocities out of our fear and anger over...atrocities.

    BTW I pretty much agree that someone would have tortured Mother Teresa in the aftermath of 9/11. Do you think it would have yielded good intelligence?

    The torture I am referring to is not the action of one or two rogue individuals in the days immediately following September 2001. An entire program of torture was developed from the very highest levels of government, from 2002 through at least 2006. It's not an interrogator "snapping" and doing an evil act that concerns me, it's when it becomes bureaucratized and ins***utionalized, describing exactly how many minutes a detainee may be subjected to hypothermia-inducing temperatures, exactly how many ****s may be stricken, etc. That's what is chilling to me.

    Here is something that will always be true, you will reap what you sow
    I agree.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate....

    Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King, Jr.
    and there will never be peace or righteousness untill Jesus returns.
    So should we give up on pursuing "the things which make for peace"?

  11. #11
    Senior Member disciple's Avatar
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    Good comments Asdf,
    We should not give up pursuing the things that make for peace nor decrying torture or any other inhumanity, abortion included. But we must also realize that peace will not come from the efforts of the U.N , the E.U, the ACLU or any other man made organization or government. Isn't it odd that the very organizations that say they strive for peace and justice will not include God?

  12. #12
    GiGi
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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Good comments Asdf,
    We should not give up pursuing the things that make for peace nor decrying torture or any other inhumanity, abortion included. But we must also realize that peace will not come from the efforts of the U.N , the E.U, the ACLU or any other man made organization or government. Isn't it odd that the very organizations that say they strive for peace and justice will not include God?
    LOL! Which god?
    http://www.un.org/en/members/growth.shtml
    Last edited by GiGi; 09-16-2009 at 09:24 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member disciple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGi View Post
    Hi GiGi,
    The God of the Bible, the One who created you and me, the One who became flesh and dwelt amoung us. The One who died to pay for our sins and then rose from the dead so we would know we could trust Him to do what He said He would do. The One who will redeem you and place you in His family forever if you ask in faith and repentance. Yea He's the One.

  14. #14
    GiGi
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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Yea He's the One.
    That's (pretty much) what they all say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGi View Post
    That's (pretty much) what they all say.
    Greetings GiGi,
    Just sharing the good news.

  16. #16
    GiGi
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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Greetings GiGi,
    Just sharing the good news.
    Uh-Huh.
    Tell it to the U.N., E.U. and A.C.L.U.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Isn't it odd that the very organizations that say they strive for peace and justice will not include God?
    At times when God is integrated into the equation, very great cruelties are committed in his name. In the past, the bible had become the strongest case for the black slavery. Until they wake up. Just look at those hysterical religious people in front of the White House last weekend. Obama, portrayed as Hitler, Stalin or as an African sorcerer. Violent today in their speeches, violent tomorrow in their actions.

    Trinity
    Last edited by Trinity; 09-16-2009 at 12:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by disciple View Post
    Good comments Asdf,
    We should not give up pursuing the things that make for peace nor decrying torture or any other inhumanity, abortion included. But we must also realize that peace will not come from the efforts of the U.N , the E.U, the ACLU or any other man made organization or government.
    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree, for the most part.

    Isn't it odd that the very organizations that say they strive for peace and justice will not include God?
    I believe this is intentional - as intentional as the omission of God from the US Cons***ution. Unfortunately the "God" concept of various peoples and religions have been one more source of disunity, disharmony, and violence.

  19. #19
    Senior Member MacG's Avatar
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    Here is something that will always be true, you will reap what you sow
    I agree.

    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate....

    Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King, Jr
    This is clearly evident in Oakland and Richmond CA where for a short time the gang related killing was on par or higher than the Iraq war.

    Ok. So there is no "torture". How do you get one who has strong alliance to what we call a terror campaign (jihad) break that bond to give information to prevent future murders, excuse me, cleansings? The militant Jihad goal is to cleanse the world of the infidel and they will not stop until either of the two are vanquished. What to do?

    MacG

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    Ok. So there is no "torture". How do you get one who has strong alliance to what we call a terror campaign (jihad) break that bond to give information to prevent future murders, excuse me, cleansings? The militant Jihad goal is to cleanse the world of the infidel and they will not stop until either of the two are vanquished. What to do?

    MacG
    "Murder" is an acceptable term. I hope you don't think that I in any way want to give a p*** to the barbarous actions of immoral thugs and terrorists.

    You are correct about the agenda of militant jihadists. Which is precisely why we must not legitimize their slanderous propaganda against the West. When we act ethically in accordance with our values, we cause violent extremists to lose rapport in the eyes of the m***es.

    Torture has always been prohibited in America - all the way back to George Washington. As for how to obtain information, we can and should do it the way we always have. I can quote from a couple of Army interrogators describing the process if you're interested.

  21. #21
    Senior Member MacG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdf View Post
    ...As for how to obtain information, we can and should do it the way we always have. I can quote from a couple of Army interrogators describing the process if you're interested.
    I am sure they have some ways no need to broadcast it though. What I would find interesting however is how our guys are trained how not to give up information when captured by those who do not follow the Geneva conventions.

    MacG

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    What I would find interesting however is how our guys are trained how not to give up information when captured by those who do not follow the Geneva conventions.

    MacG
    For the Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen, we are briefed on hostage situations prior to going to the theatre operations. The videos that we watch comes mostly from the American hostages that were held in Iran during Carter's administration. In some ways, the mental stress that we recieve in bootcamp is the best and possibly the only preparation. Statistics of survival of POWs seems to increase for Marines over the other branches due to the length of our training and the level of discipline and iden***y as a Marine. At least this is something that was indoctrinated to me when I was active duty Marine, but this was prior to 9/11, so the dynamic has changed and also I am fairly certain that the statistics given to me were fairly accurate at the time, it seems reasonable, but also biased coming from the Marines. I think there is a big difference in peace time and war time in how soldier's are treated. Since logistically speaking, trying to train up all soldier's to endure some safe torture treatments is time consuming, I would not be surprised if Marine Recon, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, and the elite fighting forces get the special attention for such training, but I am only guessing. Personally, I think I would like to experience water boarding and the other so called tortures. I have to wonder also, for those conducting the interrogations, were they not also video taped recieving the treatments they incorporated. I mean I had to be pepper sprayed by military grade OC and being photographed going through it. I can recall the sleep deprevation in the Marine Corps in the first couple of days. Standing on those yellow steps and getting inprocessed really really was not the funnest couple of days in my life. Anyways, it is a good question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    I am sure they have some ways no need to broadcast it though.
    It's not a matter of "broadcasting" it as if it's a secret - the tools of military interrogations are a matter of public record, and are published in the Army Field Guide. (I believe that's what it's called.)

    What I would find interesting however is how our guys are trained how not to give up information when captured by those who do not follow the Geneva conventions.

    MacG
    It is indeed interesting that methods culled from the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) training - developed to train our troops to resist the brutal tactics of regimes like the Gestapo - were used to expand the range of techniques permitted by the US government.

  24. #24
    Columcille
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdf View Post
    1. 1
    2. It's illegal.
      2
    3. It's immoral.
      3
    4. It leads to bad intelligence, corrupts good intelligence, and confessions stemmed from torture are inadmissible in court.
      4
    5. It damages respect and rapport for the US abroad, both among allies and enemies.
      5
    6. It puts our troops in greater danger of being tortured when they are captured as POWs.
      6
    7. It damages our credibility to condemn torture when done by other regimes.
      7
    8. It disrespects the humanity of all involved - the torturer, the victim, and the leadership and society that gives its approval.

    Questions? Comments? Ideas for what should be done to repair the damage done by those in the US government who authorized torture?
    Torture: 1. Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion.
    2. An instrument or a method for inflicting such pain.

    ETYMOLOGY:
    Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin tortra, from Latin tortus, past participle of torqure, to twist; see terkw- in Indo-European roots

    http://education.yahoo.com/reference.../entry/torture


    1) Legal is your hot topic. Countries all different in what is legal or not at different periods of time. So saying it is not legal is a matter of what time you are referencing. It is not legal under Obama, but was legal under Truman or FDR is a matter of jurisdiction. Hence, if something was done legally under Bush, it should not be tried as illegal under Obama.

    2) immoral. I would submit that some "torture" is not "torture" at all in the minds of most people when contrasting torture methods of the past. I.e. the Vietnamese pulling fingernails, Saddam using batteries on prisoner's genitalia, and a whole load of other such things. Typically, I viewed torture to be anything that actually permanently alter's the bodies appearance or damages any of its functions. I do not think Water Boarding permanently harmed or disfigured those terrorists that were subject to it. Obama not releasing the effects of the Water Boarding, in its prevention of other terroritists plots, is therefore just as immoral for withholding the truth to the American public. If he wants transparentcy in terms of releasing our methods to the world, he should be just as transparent to what it accomplished.

    3) If you treat terror as a crime it is admissible only when the methods are presently illegal, if you treat it as civilian combatants, it is different. Again, we should see the results to see whether its intelligence was of value or not.

    4) which is why Obama should never have released the information in the first place.

    5) I am a soldier. I will tell you that the terrorists have no concern for POW treatment, they are not under the Geneva Convention. I wonder how many naive "human shields" that went to Iraq during the onset of the war there came to realize that Saddam was not a nice person after all when he was positioning them in areas of sites that were blatant violations of U.N. resolutions. I have seen the worst of the worst in the detainee camps, and believe me their hatred for American troops does not dissipate because of Water Boarding. They would still do to the troops whatever they intended if we were captured.

    6) really, do other regimes Water Board? I mean when we invaded Saddam, did you not see and hear the stories of the types of torture he used? Do you see us doing the same as Iran when they captured the British Navy sailors and was parading them in their State run media for purpose of propoganda. I do not see this happening in the US. You need some real comparisons between the regimes.

    7) back to results and the legality during the time of the interviews and advanced interigations techniques. The terrorists had no concern for humanity when they rammed two commercial jets into the Twin Towers, and the third into the Pentagon, not to mention the fourth that crashed and who knows where it was intended--White House?

    If the techniques were authorized in a legal manner, absolutely nothing. If you want to change, change policy and quit looking at the past. It harms our own intelligence gathering when they have to fear litigation within the US from balancing it with doing their ***s with our real enemies.

  25. #25
    Columcille
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    I have only one thing to add in terms of torture. One of the comforts I have, from the Scriptures, is that God is in the end going to be the divine judge of all our actions. I would hope that Christians, even in death and in life, would be examples to those terrorists even if they become a POW. We should pray for them as well, so that they will eventually come to know Christ and we can rejoice with them even while on earth we suffer from the hands of others. Since the OP is concerned with more political aspects, I thought a spiritual answer also needs to be addressed since this is a Christian site in honor of the late Dr. Martin. No political answer is ever going to wipe the problems of human nature's corruption. In the history of human politics, it has never been attained, nor shall it ever. Utopia is "no place." Only the Kingdom of God that resides in the potential of the believer is a perfect society to be found and it will be realized when Christ comes again. I have considered this angle recently in terms of the "ontological argument" for God's existence. It is easier for people to imagine a perfect society since politics has become its own religion for the athiest and secular humanist and so they attempt to perfect our society by their participation.

    I am not saying that the political competing voices and actions are not profitable, but in our daily experiences I find it less relevant. I, as a soldier, have more opportunity in encountering our enemies and treating them disrespectfully than most people that will come here. As such, I am under Uniform Code of Military Justice and Geneva Convention rules and regulations. I am not a CIA operative and so my level of interaction is also limited. However, I am a Christian and I have a higher law in God to consider. Even the UCMJ tells me not to obey an unlawful order, but an order and a legal law is not the same. Anyways, I find mutulating the body to be torture, and so long as evidence of the terrorists are substantial, i.e. fingerprints on IEDs, and other such evidences, their lack of sanc***y of human life puts their own comfort at jeopardy when dealing with en***ies they consider to be their enemy and vice versa.

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