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Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 7, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Torture: Don’t criticize unless you’ve served on the front lines

Leonard Pitts Jr. seems a bit sanctimonious himself, in taking Presidents Bush and Obama, not to mention the CIA, to task over the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” ["Obama’s breezy words for post-9/11 torture," Opinion, Aug. 6].

How much time has Pitts spent on the front lines of the War on Terror? How does sitting in a safe and cozy office, passing judgment on those who are on the front lines, constitute patriotism? And what kind of “national values” does that display? I suggest that Pitts, or anyone else who cares to pass judgment on the CIA or who feels that they have the authority to define our national values, spend some serious front-line time in the military, in the CIA, or in the State Department, and then and only then start passing judgment.

Perhaps President Obama himself, now that he gets daily briefings on the realities of the many terrorists groups throughout the world, is starting to comprehend that those who, like himself, have no military time are not in a position to pass judgment on those who do. And the only reason Pitts can publish such a self-righteous essay is precisely because the military and the CIA do the work that they do.

The CIA might not be perfect, but anyone, including Pitts, who thinks they can do a better job of confronting the terrorists is welcome to get onto the front lines and show them how. Until then, please spare me from your own sanctimony.

Richard Askren, Seattle

Comments | More in torture | Topics: CIA, President Bush, President Obama

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