The Pentagon recently released a survey discussed here in this blog in which alarmingly high percentages of US Forces serving in Iraq condoned torture and said that they would not report abuse of non-combatants. General David H. Petraeus, Commander Multi-National Force Iraq has published a values message to his troops:
"Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy. This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we—not our enemies—occupy the moral high ground. This strategy has shown results in recent months. Al Qaeda’s indiscriminate attacks, for example, have finally started to turn a substantial proportion of the Iraqi population against it.
In view of this, I was concerned by the results of a recently released survey conducted last fall in Iraq that revealed an apparent unwillingness on the part of some US personnel to report illegal actions taken by fellow members of their units. The study also indicated that a small percentage of those surveyed may have mistreated noncombatants. This survey should spur reflection on our conduct in combat."
I never had the honor of serving with General Petraeus. He is one of the great warriors of my generation.