I was reading an article about Obama’s new security heads and noticed an interesting comment where it mentions senator John McCain being a Vietnam POW:
Republican Senator John McCain, whose experience as a POW in Vietnam has made him a strong critic of the use of torture even while he supports all other conservative national security positions…
I wonder what will happen when the last of the American soldiers from the largely personnel-based wars - WW2, Vietnam, Korea - dies and those fears fade away?
POW’s still are captured and tortured in wars, but they’re relatively few and far between. The wholesale capture of prisoners and group or individual torture is no longer as prevalent as it once was, especially in “first world” conflicts where squads are smaller, fighting is more skirmish-based and whole countries aren’t covered in the scars of war. This doesn’t discount the huge wars that continue to plague nations across the planet, but I’m trying to focus on the original point…
The Sandakan Death Marches are terrifying nightmares for my family (among many others), with a great uncle part who was caught up in that horrible situation. I’m only dimly aware of the effects, while my Great Aunt who recently passed away took most of the emotional burden of that loss with her. She and my mother travelled the path of the death march only a few years before she passed away, and they both said it was incredibly emotionally intense.
We grow up in a world full of media - “news”, drama, movies, games - where torture is an implement of choice by the “good” to extract what they need from the “bad”.
The dehumanisation of war increases every day, with the use of drones for surveillance quickly evolving into the use of full-sized remote fighters which are currently in development.
Policy changes over time, and it’s driven by the effects of the unwritten social contract between the people writing it.
Horrible things are easier when you don’t have to look into your victim’s eyes, what’s going to happen when the people writing the policy or pulling the trigger only know the fear of playing computer games?