Monday, February 14, 2011

♥ Happy Valentine's Day ♥

I almost stopped my car in the middle of the road and cheered today when I heard this interview with Matthew Alexander on NPR. Alexander and his team were responsible for the capture of two major figures in the leadership of al-Qaida, one of them the notorious Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Given the rhetoric we so often hear on popular news channels, you'd be forgiven for thinking this guy would be all about the end justifying the means. But think again. The words that almost got me a ticket today: "I don't care if torture works a hundred percent of the time. I'm not going to use it because it goes against the very principles that I signed up to defend." I received some fun messages and delightful adjectives on this romantic day of days, but Alexander's was the one that made my heart sing.

"Well, I won't be one to tell you that torture never works. I've had friends who have given me examples of when torture did work, but I don't care because to me this isn't about efficacy. We have other things that work a hundred percent of the time like chemical weapons and flamethrowers. We don't use them.

"And the reason we don't use them isn't an efficacy argument, it's because it's against our morality, or because the laws of war have determined that they cause unnecessary human suffering, and we've outlawed them. And there's no exceptions to that.

"I think my big disappointment is the shift in priorities from an America that stands for principles to an America that stands for security. My oath of office, when I took it as an officer in the United States military, didn't mention security. It mentioned allegiance and defending the Constitution, which prohibited torture when we ratified the convention against torture and other provisions within the Constitution."

You can buy the book here. Thank you, Mr Alexander, you made my Valentines Day! ♥

courtesy of St. Martin's Press and via NPR.)

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