Candidate Scott Brown's Conundrum

The specter of "Torturing" enemy captives is abhorrent to anyone who has served in uniform and who has sworn to protect the Constitution
and its nation's agreements about the conduct of War.

The undersigned are both former military officers in active service and reserve service. Our combined service is over three decades. In decade after decade in both services, we experienced a heavy annual training emphasis on observing the laws of our country and the agreements contained in the Geneva Convention.

"How do you reconcile your belief that "water boarding' is not torture with the requirement of the Geneva Convention, which you are sworn to uphold by virtue of your military oath?"

As young recruits, this training was provided to us in formal classes often given by seasoned gunny sergeants or double rocker sergeants with hash marks and combat Infantryman badges. Kill your enemy in combat, but obey the Geneva Convention for captured enemies. It was the law.

In the beer halls and the NCO rooms, we'd learn about how these Geneva Convention rules played out on the battlefield, often by Marines or Soldiers who had either been captured or who had captured enemies on the battlefield.

The stories at the beer hall were never as graphic as the "Christmas in the Trenches" story, but graphic nevertheless. We heard stories of how Chinese soldiers in the Korean War spared the life of one beerhall storyteller who, though unarmed and with hands in the air was about to be machine gunned by a North Korean Soldier.

The Chinese officer stopped it and took the North Korean's soldier's weapon away. We heard stories from former POWs about the German and Japanese cruelty to our captured soldiers, and of course we read "Ghost Soldiers".

He is a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer who has, by both his training and avocation sworn to uphold the law. The Geneva Convention is Law. That is unequivocal.

The specter of "Torturing" enemy captives is abhorrent to anyone who has served in uniform and who has sworn to protect the Constitution and its nation's agreements about the conduct of War. In our later years, we became the trainers for younger soldiers. The terms of the International Geneva Convention agreement was non-negotiable.

Given this background, we are incensed that a candidate for Senate from Massachusetts, Mr. Scott Brown has the audacity to suggest that "Water boarding" is a permissible interrogation strategy. Now Mr. Brown is not just a civilian candidate, he is a state senator and an Officer in the Massachusetts National Guard. As such he is bound to a higher level of ethical behavior to obey the law than a candidate who is not a military officer.

Mr. Kennedy, an opponent for the Senatorial position has now got more credibility in his judgment than does that candidate Lt. Colonel Brown, especially since Colonel Brown's military occupational specialty (MOS) is as a lawyer. He is a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer who has, by both his training and avocation sworn to uphold the law. The Geneva Convention is Law. That is unequivocal.

We request that the following questions be asked of Mr. Brown the next time he is in a debate- or he can respond in writing in this newspaper if it is more convenient:

  1. How do you reconcile your belief that "water boarding' is not torture with the requirement of the Geneva Convention, which you are sworn to uphold by virtue of your MOS and your military oath.
  2. If you suggest that "water boarding" is not "torture", what evidence can you produce to support this claim?
  3. What evidence do you have that ‘water boarding' is a successful interrogation strategy, and with whom (what type of captured persona) shall that strategy be used?
  4. If it is a successful interrogation strategy, at what point would you vote in congress to have that strategy included in the interrogating protocols of Local police or FBI when interrogating American citizens?
  5. Would you encourage the use of ‘water boarding" for illegal immigrants at interrogation centers around the nation? - And if so, for what kinds of alleged crimes?
  6. How do you reconcile your "water boarding" enthusiasm with the opposing views of fellow Republican Senator John McCain, who was a prisoner who endured torture at the hands of savage captors for five years during the Vietnam War?

We would appreciate a quick response to these questions to enlarge the issue for potential voters in Massachusetts who will be voting on a senator on January 19.

Thomas P. Johnson Ed.D., Major-US Army  retired, Harwichport.

Joseph McParland JD, Former Captain-USMC, Harwich Port.

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.