The connection service members and veterans have to those who’ve served before us runs deep. We venerate the likes of Lewis “Chesty” Puller, Audie Murphy, and John Boyd, not only for their heroism on the battlefields of yore, but for their contributions to our warfighting profession. They inspire us and set the standards by which we judge ourselves. We take the heritage they’ve given us very seriously. But the draw we have to the warriors of the past extends further back into history as we also feel a tremendous kinship with and respect for the soldiers and heroes of the classical world.
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.