A Profile of Courage, Honor and Integrity
This story comes to us via Common Dreams. It was first published on Sunday, September 7, 2008 by The Toronto Star. It's the story of a US soldier who fled to Canada because of the likelihood that his training and skill at Arabic would put him into a situation he finds untenable: the support of torture through using his knowledge of the language as part of the interrogation of detainees.
"It's a soldier's obligation to say `no' if their commander is doing things that are criminally complicit," Jemley, now 42, said in a recent interview in Toronto. "I think everyone is agreeing now that torture is really what has been going on ... I have every reason to believe that from my small pool that I belong to, with my credentials, that I'd be ordered to do such things."
Such a stand would be praised by those who understand the importance of not undermining the US prohibitions against torture and against the undermining of the Geneva Convention; those who support the misguided and malignant failed policies of the Bush regime -- among whom we now find John "I'm against torture, but I support it if you don't call it that" McCain -- would call him a traitor.
Who, though, is betraying whom?
Our government, under the guidance of the Bush Administration and their cronies at Justice and within Congress, have lowered the bar of honor and integrity so far that it's been paved over. The simple substitution of words to make something appear less abrasive and less abhorrent doesn't change the nature of the actions -- "a rose by any other name" comes to mind here.
Peter Jemley appears to be a soldier who is fully aware of his duties, and willing to flee to Canada to find refuge rather than be put into a situation guaranteed to challenge both his honor and integrity and that of the nation itself.
"I did everything I was supposed to. I'm not afraid to be deployed. I'm not afraid to die," Jemley said.
"(But) I'm ashamed about what's going on."
His wife Sarah and children aged 8 and 3 have remained in Tacoma until Sarah can finish her master's nursing degree. They hate the separation but Jemley says he's confident in his decision.
"I know it sounds glib but I mean it. If one less person gets tortured then it'll all be worth it."
This is what I'd call courage in the face of adversity...and a fine example of Patriotism in action, in the style of those who originally founded our nation.
The Toronto Star, US Deserter Feared Torture Orders: Arabic-speaking soldier may prompt Canada to wade into legal debate, by Michelle Shephard, 7 September 2008.