During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump spoke somewhat disturbingly about waterboarding, saying, ”I love it, I think it’s great. And I said the only thing is, we should make it much tougher than waterboarding, and if you don’t think it works, folks, you’re wrong.” Though Trump himself has backed off those words, Vice President-elect Mike Pence wants the administration’s opinion to be ambiguous. “We're going to have a president again who will never say what we'll never do,” Pence said. That ambiguity, deliberate or not, may create a tactical advantage for the United States, but it surrenders the nation’s moral advantage.
The release of the unclassified executive summary detailing the CIA’s interrogation program and ongoing conversations about its contents should be of particular concern among service members, a group that has shouldered a considerable burden throughout the duration of the Global War on Terror. Over the past decade, U.S. troops have been held up by our leaders and civilians as the guarantors of our nation’s freedoms and the protectors of our way of life. If we believe that those things are in any way true, we should be deeply offended at the report’s contents and the actions of the CIA. As veterans, we should call upon our leaders to swiftly correct the injustices described in the report, implore them to institute policies so that they may never happen again, and encourage our fellow citizens to do the same. We should not appear to lend our support and approval, tacit or otherwise, to practices that amount to torture.