DOD survey finds ethical struggle in war

Should torture be acceptable when dealing with insurgents in the war zone?

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Dirt McGirt

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DOD survey finds ethical struggle in war
1 in 10 servicemembers admit to abusing noncombatants or destroying their property

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, May 5, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — Fewer than half of soldiers and Marines polled in Iraq would report a buddy for unethical behavior, according to a combat mental health study released Friday by the Defense Department.

The latest Mental Health Advisory Team survey queried 1,320 soldiers and 447 Marines anonymously from August to October 2006, the fourth in a series of studies since 2003 to assess the mental health and well-being of deployed forces.

It is the first time the survey has included Marines and the first to ask questions concerning combat ethics, Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command and acting Army surgeon general, told Pentagon reporters during a Friday press briefing.

Ethics questions were included while the study was under way at the request of Army Gen. George Casey, then-commander of Multi-National Forces — Iraq, according to Rear Adm. Richard Jeffries, Medical Officer of the Marine Corps, who also attended the briefing.

Just 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of the Marines participating believe that noncombatants should be treated with “dignity and respect,” according to the report.

One servicemember in 10 admitted to hitting or kicking a civilian, or destroying noncombatant property without justification.

More than one-third also felt that torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier or Marine in the survey, which is dated Nov. 17, 2006, but was not publicly released until Friday.

Asked about her concerns over the reluctance of soldiers to report their buddies for crimes, and apparent willingness to see torture used against enemies, Pollock said, “these men and women are seeing their friends injured. These thoughts are natural.”

What is important, Pollock said, is that “they’re not acting on these thoughts.”

In the survey, 62 percent of soldiers and 66 percent of Marines reported knowing someone who had been seriously injured or killed, or that a member of their team had become a combat casualty.

The researchers passed out anonymous questionnaires and conducted interviews with focus groups among troops involved in combat operations, said Army Col. Carl Castro, Mental Health Advisory Team-IV team leader.

The more frequently servicemembers are deployed, and the longer they stay on the battlefield, the more likely they are to report losing not only their moral compass, but their mental well-being, researchers found.

The survey found that one-third of troops in combat report feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.

“But not all [servicemembers] are at equal risk,” Pollock said. “Length of combat tours is the main determinant” for whether or not a servicemember will suffer from mental health issues.

Soldiers who deployed for more than six months, or had deployed multiple times, were more likely to screen positive for a mental health issue than other soldiers.

Because Marines typically deploy for just seven months compared to the Army’s yearlong tours, soldiers report experiencing mental health problems at a higher rate, Pollock said.

“The Army is spread thin,” and shorter deployments aren’t an option at this point, Pollock said.

In fact, the Army recently announced that all combat tours in the Middle East will be extended from one year to 15 months.

Pollock said that that decision was made in part to address the report’s recommendation to extend at-home “dwell time,” so soldiers can recover between combat tours.

As part of their recommendations, the survey’s researchers said soldiers should remain at home base for 18 to 36 months to recover from the stress of the battle.

The Army’s current goal, with the 15- month deployments in place, is for active- duty troops to have a one-year break between deployments.

Deployment length was directly linked to morale problems in the Army, according to the report.

“Soldier morale was lower than Marine morale,” Pollock said.
http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=53182&archive=true
 

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DOD survey finds ethical struggle in war
1 in 10 servicemembers admit to abusing noncombatants or destroying their property

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, May 5, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — Fewer than half of soldiers and Marines polled in Iraq would report a buddy for unethical behavior, according to a combat mental health study released Friday by the Defense Department.

The latest Mental Health Advisory Team survey queried 1,320 soldiers and 447 Marines anonymously from August to October 2006, the fourth in a series of studies since 2003 to assess the mental health and well-being of deployed forces.

It is the first time the survey has included Marines and the first to ask questions concerning combat ethics, Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command and acting Army surgeon general, told Pentagon reporters during a Friday press briefing.

Ethics questions were included while the study was under way at the request of Army Gen. George Casey, then-commander of Multi-National Forces — Iraq, according to Rear Adm. Richard Jeffries, Medical Officer of the Marine Corps, who also attended the briefing.

Just 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of the Marines participating believe that noncombatants should be treated with “dignity and respect,” according to the report.

One servicemember in 10 admitted to hitting or kicking a civilian, or destroying noncombatant property without justification.

More than one-third also felt that torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier or Marine in the survey, which is dated Nov. 17, 2006, but was not publicly released until Friday.

Asked about her concerns over the reluctance of soldiers to report their buddies for crimes, and apparent willingness to see torture used against enemies, Pollock said, “these men and women are seeing their friends injured. These thoughts are natural.”

What is important, Pollock said, is that “they’re not acting on these thoughts.”

In the survey, 62 percent of soldiers and 66 percent of Marines reported knowing someone who had been seriously injured or killed, or that a member of their team had become a combat casualty.

The researchers passed out anonymous questionnaires and conducted interviews with focus groups among troops involved in combat operations, said Army Col. Carl Castro, Mental Health Advisory Team-IV team leader.

The more frequently servicemembers are deployed, and the longer they stay on the battlefield, the more likely they are to report losing not only their moral compass, but their mental well-being, researchers found.

The survey found that one-third of troops in combat report feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.

“But not all [servicemembers] are at equal risk,” Pollock said. “Length of combat tours is the main determinant” for whether or not a servicemember will suffer from mental health issues.

Soldiers who deployed for more than six months, or had deployed multiple times, were more likely to screen positive for a mental health issue than other soldiers.

Because Marines typically deploy for just seven months compared to the Army’s yearlong tours, soldiers report experiencing mental health problems at a higher rate, Pollock said.

“The Army is spread thin,” and shorter deployments aren’t an option at this point, Pollock said.

In fact, the Army recently announced that all combat tours in the Middle East will be extended from one year to 15 months.

Pollock said that that decision was made in part to address the report’s recommendation to extend at-home “dwell time,” so soldiers can recover between combat tours.

As part of their recommendations, the survey’s researchers said soldiers should remain at home base for 18 to 36 months to recover from the stress of the battle.

The Army’s current goal, with the 15- month deployments in place, is for active- duty troops to have a one-year break between deployments.

Deployment length was directly linked to morale problems in the Army, according to the report.

“Soldier morale was lower than Marine morale,” Pollock said.
http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=53182&archive=true
Not surprised at this at all...maybe we should send the Boy Scouts over there instead! Maybe the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is available too!
 

red states rule

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Not surprised at this at all...maybe we should send the Boy Scouts over there instead! Maybe the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is available too!
or the ACLU

Perhaps John Edwards could represent the terrorists in court.
 

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By all means, lets worry about the rights of the terrorists rather then defeating them
 
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Dirt McGirt

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Not surprised at this at all...maybe we should send the Boy Scouts over there instead! Maybe the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is available too!
When REAL WMD's don't turn up the only justification for invading Iraq is to free it from a murderous tyrant like Saddam and bring Democracy. It's counter productive to the mission when we excuse abuse and torture from our own Soldiers. We might as well had just left Saddam in power if we're going to apologize and make excuses for that type of behavior.
 

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When REAL WMD's don't turn up the only justification for invading Iraq is to free it from a murderous tyrant like Saddam and bring Democracy. It's counter productive to the mission when we excuse abuse and torture from our own Soldiers. We might as well had just left Saddam in power if we're going to apologize and make excuses for that type of behavior.
So what do you consider torture?
 
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Here are the actual results of the Army Times poll so far.

Yes, it should be used to gather vital information
49.56 % (452)

Yes, but only if it could save U.S. troops' lives
24.01 % (219)

No, torture is never acceptable
24.78 % (226)

Don't know/No opinion
1.64 % (15)

Total votes: 912
 

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I would be quite happy to have our enemies treat us in the manner we treat civilians and captured "freedom" fighters.

This is another case of twisting what words mean. Torture is not in the eye of the beholder.
 

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When REAL WMD's don't turn up the only justification for invading Iraq is to free it from a murderous tyrant like Saddam and bring Democracy. It's counter productive to the mission when we excuse abuse and torture from our own Soldiers. We might as well had just left Saddam in power if we're going to apologize and make excuses for that type of behavior.
I personally do not condone torture nor did I ever allow such things in any of my units. However, war (any armed conflict by any other name for that matter) is a dirty business. It takes men willing to do what is necessary (specifically: kill another human being) to engage and win. I have always been trained and trained my men to fight with great ferocity during battle; once the battle is over, to display professionalism and even compassion in dealing with the defeated enemy. Such philosphical questions such as "What constitutes 'torture?" I leave to philosophers. Hopefully, the philosophers leave the tactical conduct of war to the soldiers.
 

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I would be quite happy to have our enemies treat us in the manner we treat civilians and captured "freedom" fighters.

This is another case of twisting what words mean. Torture is not in the eye of the beholder.
I have seen where some consider loud music pumped into the cells is torture
 

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When REAL WMD's don't turn up the only justification for invading Iraq is to free it from a murderous tyrant like Saddam and bring Democracy. It's counter productive to the mission when we excuse abuse and torture from our own Soldiers. We might as well had just left Saddam in power if we're going to apologize and make excuses for that type of behavior.
I am not so certain that your initial statement here is complete or accurate. If you remember there is the small matter of UN conditions and a signed cease fire document that Iraq (under Saddam) violated many many times. The term 'cease fire' is important...it was NOT a peace treaty. Often when reasons for invading Iraq are given, these two factors are ignored (particularly by some trying to push a personal agenda such us proving Bush is a 'war criminal, etc.)
 

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I am not so certain that your initial statement here is complete or accurate. If you remember there is the small matter of UN conditions and a signed cease fire document that Iraq (under Saddam) violated many many times. The term 'cease fire' is important...it was NOT a peace treaty. Often when reasons for invading Iraq are given, these two factors are ignored (particularly by some trying to push a personal agenda such us proving Bush is a 'war criminal, etc.)
and how many UN resolutions did Saddam ignore?
 
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I cant answer your poll until you qualify what "torture" means.
It's not my poll. It's the same poll up at www.ArmyTimes.com. As a retired SNCO, go by your definitions of torture as taught to you by the military from the Geneva conventions, law of the land, and the treatment of POW's in FM 27-10. We can discuss specifics of whether you think certain interrogation methods constitute torture in this thread later.

There are some things that some Soldiers may consider torture which I do not. I don't consider sleep deprivation torture. But because I said torture should never be used, I'm obviously excluding sleep deprivation as a torture method.
 
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I am not so certain that your initial statement here is complete or accurate. If you remember there is the small matter of UN conditions and a signed cease fire document that Iraq (under Saddam) violated many many times. The term 'cease fire' is important...it was NOT a peace treaty. Often when reasons for invading Iraq are given, these two factors are ignored (particularly by some trying to push a personal agenda such us proving Bush is a 'war criminal, etc.)
I don't see Bush as a war criminal. But tell me, what is the current mission in Iraq? Does torture and abuse undermine the mission?
 

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The criteria you provide is useless. Unless a definition is provided and can be sourced when questioned on why you responded in the manner you did the poll becomes meaningless.
 

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It's not my poll. It's the same poll up at www.ArmyTimes.com. As a retired SNCO, go by your definitions of torture as taught to you by the military from the Geneva conventions, law of the land, and the treatment of POW's in FM 27-10. We can discuss specifics of whether you think certain interrogation methods constitute torture in this thread later.

There are some things that some Soldiers may consider torture which I do not. I don't consider sleep deprivation torture. But because I said torture should never be used, I'm obviously excluding sleep deprivation as a non-torture method.
And there-in lies the problem with such polls. It automatically assumes everyone has the same baseline definition of the word torture.
 

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It's not my poll. It's the same poll up at www.ArmyTimes.com. As a retired SNCO, go by your definitions of torture as taught to you by the military from the Geneva conventions, law of the land, and the treatment of POW's in FM 27-10. We can discuss specifics of whether you think certain interrogation methods constitute torture in this thread later.

There are some things that some Soldiers may consider torture which I do not. I don't consider sleep deprivation torture. But because I said torture should never be used, I'm obviously excluding sleep deprivation as a torture method.
So if the troops know the terrorists have info that would stop an attack, and save lives. the troops have to make sure not to violate his "rights?"
 

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I cant answer your poll until you qualify what "torture" means.
How about Torture as defined by the usa, constitutionally binding Geneva Convention before the war and before alberto Gonzalez and others decided to rewrite history and redefine it? ;)
 

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