A National Shame

I was sick to my stomach this morning when I read the news reports from the GOP debate this weekend. The candidates were asked a very simple question: is waterboarding torture? All but John Huntsman and Ron Paul failed the test.

I spent 10 years in the United States Air Force, including 5+ years on flight status flying missions aboard various specialized reconnaissance aircraft as a Russian linguist. I enjoyed my time, but I also got to see things that no sane American would ever want to see for real.

After language and intel training, the next step to aircrew status was survival training in Spokane, Washington. I attended the basic wilderness and water survival courses, but also less pleasant courses including POW training and another classified survival course which no attendee will ever forget in their life.

There should be no aircrew member who has gone through the training at Spokane who should not say, unequivocally, that waterboarding is torture. Yet last night, nearly a stage full of men and women seeking this nation’s highest office failed this simple question.

This should absolutely outrage any American, and every veteran, as it does me. Throughout history, there has never been a doubt waterboarding was torture. We prosecuted Nazi’s during the Nuremberg Trials for waterboarding. We hung Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American POWs. We prosecuted our own soldiers for waterboarding during the Vietnam War.

Yet when given the chance to demonstrate moral clarity, all but two of the Republican candidates failed the test. Even more appalling is that these same candidates have somehow deluded themselves into believing waterboarding is acceptable even though they profess to be good Christians. You cannot be a Christian and believe waterboarding is acceptable.

If a candidate cannot pass such a simple test of morality, they unworthy of our nation’s highest office and are a stain on the honor of America’s veterans and our forefathers.

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