Friday, May 13, 2011

An Open Letter to Sen. John McCain

May 13, 2011

Sen. John McCain
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sen. McCain,

Although I sometimes disagree with your position on issues, I want to thank you for your comments made on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday regarding torture (or enhanced interrogation techniques, as some prefer to call it).  I think those comments were representative of the maverick that you have aspired to be, standing up for what you believe even if that is not always popular.  I believe what you said about this issue is exactly right:  What we do on the topic of torture is not about the terrorists, it's about us, about who we are as a country and a civilization.  As a former P.O.W. yourself (the only one currently serving in the U.S. Senate, I believe), you are uniquely qualified to address this issue at this time.  You indicated that it was your personal experience as well as a well-documented fact that while torture may yield additional information, it frequently yields incorrect information, as the victim of torture will say whatever he thinks his torturer wants to hear in order to make them stop the torture.  

I think that another question for us is this:  How do we want our own soldiers treated in the same circumstance?  Do I want my own son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father subjected to water-boarding or other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques?  I'm the father of both a 30 year old son and a 27 year old son.  Would that be acceptable to me if my own sons were on the receiving end of that treatment?  How then can we possibly justify this sub-human behavior regardless of what we think of the person we have captured?  

Like you, I'm relieved that Osama bin Laden was successfully targeted and is no longer a threat to our country. I hope that how we conduct ourselves as a country will not put our own soldiers at risk of being tortured if they fall into the hands of our enemies.  

I thank you for your service to our country and for your courage in speaking up against the practice of torture by our own intelligence community. 


Ken Summerlin

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