Preventing Another Abu Ghraib

Maj. Douglas Pryer wants more ethics training for soldiers:

"Law is nothing unless close behind it stands a warm living public opinion," Wendell Phillips, the great abolitionist, once said. Among our political and military leaders, a warm opinion that has embraced the Geneva Conventions and how these conventions are expressed in U.S. law, military regulations, and doctrine has been too often absent since 9/11.

Just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not immediately end (or even reduce) racism, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 has not ended the belief of many leaders that it is okay for Americans to torture if it might save lives.

Above all, what we need now are strong ethics programs that teach military leaders how to reason toward professionally acceptable solutions to moral dilemmas. Sadly, although such programs now exist at Fort Huachuca, West Point, and a few other military institutions, their existence is hardly uniform across our military.