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By Sparing Jailed Terrorists, We Harm Ourselves

June 17, 2004

Torture is an odd subject to discuss in places like academia and newsrooms, where there is little dirt beneath the fingernails. But in less pristine places, realities are easier to understand. And to soldiers, the reality is the price of allowing known terrorists to sit in comfy jail cells, coasting through due process with databanks of names and targets -- which may well be the torture of an Army private from Baldwin Park who bleeds to death in tomorrow's Fallujah ambush, or that of a West Los Angeles housewife who will be maimed for life in a mall bombing, or that of a child or a banker or a lawyer or you. One could make a fairly strong argument that Al Qaeda tortured 3,000 of our citizens to death on 9/11.

War is a business of unpleasantry. But the faster and more vigorously one dives in, the faster and more definitively it is over and behind us. Americans are dying, and we will continue to die, until we accept the unpleasantry at hand. Meanwhile, those who have our blood on their hands will sit in their comfy jail cells, protected by wringing hands with pristine fingernails. It is time to dive in vigorously or prepare to surrender to those who despise our way of life.

Robert Parry

Playa del Rey

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