Torture tactics; East Texas veterans give their view

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - There are some in the Obama Administration that suggest advisors to the Bush White House may face prosecution over harsh interrogations of terror suspects. Torture. President Barack Obama said the tactics showed the United States is losing its "moral bearings," and that the techniques won't be used while he is in office.

We talked with East Texas veterans about this issue. They told us why they do not want the practice of torture to end.

While not explaining the about face on the CIA torture memos, the move has Longview veterans worried about the message the reversal sends.

"The possibility is absurd if you ask me," said Ken Messer U.S. Air Force. "We really wouldn't be having this discussion if politically this was the other way around."

This all comes after CIA memos authorizing the interrogations were released by President Obama.

"I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general," he stated when asked about prosecuting some in the Bush Administration Obama.

"What other things are you going to apply this, too, " asked Messer. "How far back are you going to go to prosecute previous administrations for things that you don't believe in?"

Korean War veteran Joe Crenshaw thinks its a waste of time on a moot point.

"The POWs and MIAs in a military operation, when we're at war, is totally different from these people in Guantanamo Bay," said Crenshaw. "They are assassins. They're not soldiers. They are assassins they're terrorists."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney requested other Bush memos be released as well, saying they did not put out the ones showing the success of the effort.

"Civilian attorney general has no place whatsoever interfering in a military operation," said Crenshaw.

But, will disclosure risk worse treatment of future American POWs or hostages? We asked our veterans.

"I don't see how it could make things any worse on our POWs," said Messer. "They're going to do what they're going to do to our POWs regardless of what we do."

"How can you make it much worse than the Bataan Death March," said Crenshaw. "They certainly didn't go by a civilian court."

Veterans say the bottom line is one objective.

"The object of our war on terrorism is to win," said Crenshaw.

"If it saves any American lives then it's worth whatever we've done," said Messer.

All of the veterans we spoke with took the same position. We did our best to find veterans on the other side.

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