Michele Ule's wonderful blog, "Finding God's Fingerprints", had a particularly interesting entry today - POWs, Horror, and Hope. You can find it here
The POW experience is one that most people would prefer to ignore, save looking at its comedic versions (Hogan's Heroes) or action-adventure possibilities (the movie version of The Great Escape).
Also, our vision is pretty well defined by the experience of Allied POWs in German camps. Michelle writes about Civil War camps in her post, and references some descriptions of the horrific Viet Nam experience.
German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners during WW2.
Some are still here. By choice. No American POW has returned to live in Germany, much less Japan, North Korea, or Viet Nam.
And that says it all.
I wish I could stop here, but the shadow of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib has partially obscured our good record. In these places, insurgents were held, interrogated - and tortured.
In our name.
The argument can be persuasive - it was vital to get current information on upcoming terrorist attacks. Who wouldn't use 'any means necessary' if their loved ones were at risk?
The first flaw in this thinking is a practical one. Information gained under torture is rarely useful, as a man will say anything to get it to stop.
The second flaw is that it's wrong. Simply wrong, to use the power of the state to inflict pain on a bound captive.
Jesus didn't address the issue of POWs, but He did say that if we visited someone in prison, we visited Him.
I doubt He's very happy with us.