Saturday, May 12, 2007

Petraeus on the "High Moral Ground"

What’s happening to us when the most forceful appeal for traditional American decency comes, not from the President or religious leaders, but a military commander in a battle zone?

“Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right,” Gen. David Petraeus wrote this week in a letter to his troops. “Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy.”

Gen. Petraeus was responding to a battlefield survey that found only 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of Marines believed noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect. Less than half said they would report a team member for unethical behavior. One out of ten admitted physically abusing civilians and needlessly destroying property.

Add this brutalizing of our young people to the deaths, injuries and billions of dollars as the cost of this insane and endless war. When those who survive come home, the price will keep going up.

"This fight,” Gen. Petraeus wrote, “depends on securing the population, which must understand that we--not our enemies --occupy the moral high ground."

How long can we hold onto it?

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