Militarism leads inevitably to torture and war crimes and, as I have pointed out previously, war crimes are a serious matter for Catholics.
We need to break the back of U.S. militarism and one way to begin doing that is to target the worst war criminals and “put the Fear of God into them.”
Here is Catholic military veteran and foreign policy expert William Pfaff, writing about the Senate CIA Torture Report:
“In my view, those in the American government who ordered and conducted this program of torture by the CIA since the autumn of 2001 should be arrested, tried for self-evident common crimes, and if convicted, hanged.”
A Catholic friend, Tom Eddlem, writes for the New American and he is a passionate and well-informed enemy of the “torture lobby.” Here is a letter he wrote to the U.S. Attorney for D.C., calling for prosecutions:
Dear Atty. Ronald Machen Jr.:
The release of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Report documenting torture last week, combined with the public statements of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former CIA Directors George Tenet and Michael Hayden, have left on the public record evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that they have ordered torture and violated 18 USC 2340A, “Conspiracy to torture.”
As U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, this conspiracy to commit torture originated in your district and it is your responsibility to prosecute criminals who masterminded these heinous crimes. I am a high school U.S. history teacher in a Catholic school south of Boston. As I have taught my students the Bill of Rights in class this week, I noted that the logic of the torture lobby present on television news shows over the past week must destroy not only the “cruel and unusual punishments” clauses of the Eighth Amendment, but that it also threatens virtually the entire Bill of Rights. For example, the right to trial by jury (Sixth Amendment), right to an attorney (Sixth Amendment), due process (Fifth Amendment) and right against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment) must be done away with by the logic of the torture lobby, who argue that detainees must be tortured before a trial sorts the guilty from the innocent in order to get timely “battlefield” intelligence.
This torture policy has resulted in the torture of not just actual terrorists, but also of innocent people, including innocent American citizens Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel.
This is not a partisan issue; it is a criminal issue. I am a life-long donor and supporter to Republican Party causes, and it matters nothing to me that all of the perpetrators happen to be of the Republican Party. I would note that Republican Senator John McCain and the Republican members of the House Liberty Caucus have also spoken out strongly against these crimes.
Please do not let politics be the undoing of the law you are charged with enforcing.
Thomas R. Eddlem