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A Humane Approach

Dec 11

Headline:”We hope the release of the summary will be the beginning, not the end, of investigations into US torture to ensure it never happens again.”

Lt.Col. Dave Grossman States:
The treatment of POWs had been addressed by an instructor at Ranger school, and he clearly communicated his personal belief that in a raid or an ambush, a patrol could not be expected to take POWs. I had noted that most of the outstanding young soldiers coming to us from the Ranger Battalion shared …this Ranger school belief. To confront this belief I said basically, “If the enemy finds just one massacre, like our soldiers did at Malmdy in the Battle of the Bulge, then thousands of enemy soldiers will swear never to surrender, and they’ll be very tough to fight. Just like our troops were in the Battle of the Bulge when word got around that the Germans were shooting POWs. In addition, that’s all the excuse the enemy needs to kill our captured soldiers. So by murdering a few prisoners, who were just poor, tired soldiers like you, you’ll make the enemy force a damn sight tougher, and cause the deaths murders of a whole bunch of our boys. “On the other hand, if you disarm, tie up, and leave a POW out in a clearing somewhere because you can’t take him with you, then the word will spread that Americans treat POWs honorably, even when the chips are down, and a whole bunch of scared, tired soldiers will surrender rather than die. In World War II an entire Soviet army corps defected to the Germans. The Germans were treating Soviet POWs like dogs, and yet a whole corps came over to their side. How would they behave if they faced a humane enemy?

Calvin Lawrence

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