I believe there is no room for both Honor and Torture.
On September 26, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislov Petrov saved my life. He likely saved yours. Lt. Col. Petrov was the duty officer for the Soviet satellite early warning system that date. In the middle of the night, the satellites warned that the United states had launched an attack on the Soviet Union.
For a number of reasons, he didn’t believe it. He disobeyed standing orders and did not launch a nuclear attack on the United States. He reported it as a false alarm to his superiors, and he was, in the end, punished for it.
Col Petrov is an honorable man- he is an unsung hero because he understood that we too were honorable.
But we had made our honor clear, not least by repudiating dishonorable behavior such as torture, as we have done as recently as 1996 when we passed the War Crimes Act.
We have executed others for torture. We executed Julian Schneider at Nuremberg for statements not much more extreme than are heard from some of today’s pundits.
If we hold others to a standard that we do not keep, what can we expect in return.
To lose our honor it to create dissent from within and attack from without.
I believe that we will find room for honor again.
We do what we must.
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