Think if you will, fifteen years from now, when a young son or daughter asks his mom or dad, who served in our War on Terror, what they did in the war. For that first minute some veterans will have to think about kicking a shackled prisoner to death or even that they had to hear that prisoner’s screams and there was nothing they could do to stop it.
There are Pentagon reports from every theater of this war describing the torture and killing of prisoners by our troops. In a 2,000-page Pentagon report leaked to the New York Times this weekend, it reports that Specialist Damien Corsetti an American interrogator was called "Monster" and "He had that word tattooed in Italian across his chest. "One Saudi detainee testified that Spc. Corsetti held his penis against his face and threatened to rape him.
This is really nothing new for many veterans of past American wars; they know what we have done in the past and they have to live every day with their memories.
We have all seen some of the pictures that came from the sexual abuse and torture of prisoners in Iraq, but we haven’t seen the most graphic photos that are still classified, because they were too terrible for the public to see.
We can read all sorts of reports about torture and abuse of prisoners in our special prison set up in Cuba and we now know about American guards kicking to death Afghan prisoners.
"Habibullah was captured in November 2002. He was locked in an isolation cell with his hands shackled to the wire ceiling above his head. The report describes how he was literally kicked to death over several days."
Just how many men and women do you think will pay the price for our policy of torture? Oh sure, a few will do a bit of prison time, but what about all those who were never really involved up close, but had to witness what went on?
If we add up all the prisons in Iraq, the several in Afghanistan and our Camp X-ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba the number of American prison workers, guards, and interrogators could number in the thousands.
No one who has never heard it can even imagine what a man sounds like when he is beaten to death or tortured, but that sound is horrible and carries for a long ways. People outside might think there is an animal in a trap or someone had their guts ripped out with a knife. Soon everyone at the facility knows what is going on and everyone is affected.
Our troops who were assigned to our prisons will carry the sounds of torture with them until they die. Not right away, but someday the memories will start to eat at them. Some will take the easy way out and commit suicide, others will take their pain out on their loved ones, and still others will be going to the VA Hospital or one of the Veteran drop-in centers set up around the nation for a lifetime of counseling and/or drugs.
Maybe some in Washington will tell you that we have to torture prisoners to save American lives, but those people telling you that have no idea of the number of troops who will be paying for that torture for decades to come.
Jim Glaser [send him mail], a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and Commander of VFW Post 3869, works to educate the American public on the consequences of war. His personal website is James-Glaser.com.