It's Me!!

I'm going to try and make this blog nonpolitical, the best I can. I am interested in many more things other then politics and this is where I'll include that stuff. I am going to make this blog the place to catch up on how the family and I are doing and what's on my mind other then politics. It's gonna be hard, so don't be surprised if I rant from time to time. Oh and my creations are mine, if you wanna copy them get permission. Copyright belongs to me.

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Location: Michigan, United States

I am a dad and husband. I take those two things seriously... everything else, well??

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Proud to an American, a Yooper and a soldier.

U.P. soldier's crisis of conscience leads to legislation on torture
By CHRISTOPHER DIEM, Journal Staff Writer

PHOTO: Capt. Ian Fishback delivers a speech at the 2005 Memorial Day presentation at Newberry Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of James Diem, The Newberry News)

MARQUETTE - It's not always easy to do the right thing.

President George Bush recently agreed to legislation banning the use of torture by the United States military, but the issue may not have even been in discussion were it not for one Upper Peninsula man.
Army Capt. Ian Fishback, 26, a Newberry native and West Point graduate who has served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. While fighting the war on terror, Fishback, in a letter to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he had been led by superiors to believe that United States policy in those two fronts did not require application of the Geneva Convention toward the treatment of prisoners.

"On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense (Donald) Rumsfeld's testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the 'spirit' of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification," Fishback wrote.

For 17 months, Fishback carried out an exhaustive investigation, asking authorities in many levels of the military and government to define what the U.S. policy was concerning the treatment of prisoners.

None could give him a clear, consistent answer.

"Instead of resolving my concerns, the approach for clarification process leaves me deeply troubled," he wrote.

Fishback said the confusing lack of standards or a clear policy for U.S. soldiers to follow was largely responsible for beatings, torture and degrading treatment of prisoners that he and his troops witnessed first-hand in Afghanistan and Iraq.

His concerns were finally brought to Humans Rights Watch, and his cause has been taken up by McCain, who was tortured as a Vietnam prisoner of war.

Fishback, who is not speaking to reporters, is in Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, N.C. in hopes of returning to the war front.

"This is a tragedy," Fishback wrote. "I can remember, as a cadet at West Point, resolving to ensure that my men would never commit a dishonorable act, that I would protect them from that type of burden. It absolutely breaks my heart that I have failed some of them in this regard."

Newberry is a close-knit community that knows adversity. After suffering the closure of the State Mental Health Hospital in the early 1990s, Newberry residents fought against a strikingly similar situation this summer, when downstate legislators threatened to close the Newberry Correctional Facility. It was in this community that Fishback grew up.

Attending Tahquamenon Area Schools, Fishback was an accomplished athlete and student. He was voted class president, MVP of the football team and voted Most Likely to Succeed.

Throughout his life, Fishback has been noted as a devout Christian, with strong morals.

"His values come from his parents and from his personal sense of integrity, said the Rev. Steve Ford, an Episcopal minister and the father of one of Fishback's close friends. "One of his primary concerns was that he was a captain and he had to lead men, and when you lead your men you have to be able to tell them what they can and can't do."

Ford said that Fishback's convictions have had a measurable impact on Washington.

"I don't think there has been another person from the Upper Peninsula in the last 100 years that has had such a profound effect on national policy," Ford said, regarding the Bush administration's recent acceptance of the torture ban after months of insisting that such legislation was unnecessary.

"I'm as proud of Ian as any human being I've known," Ford added.

Some legislators and pundits across the nation argue that the ban on torture will limit the military's ability to wage war on terror.

Fishback wrote there is a larger issue at stake.

"Do we sacrifice our ideals in order to preserve security? Will we confront danger and adversity in order to preserve our ideals, or will our courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice?" he wrote.

He added, "If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is 'America.'"


Anonymous Barbi said...

Hey, Mr. Yooper, my upstate bud! Happy New Year to you and your sweet girls! Your blog is wonderful! Stop by and see us some time:

Sat Dec 31, 12:03:00 PM EST  
Blogger DeLLBerto said...

I lurk at least once a day at those sites. For some reason I never comment though :( I will start to comment more often.

Sat Dec 31, 12:36:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lizzy said...


Your comments are most welcome.

I am proud of you as a American, Yooper and Soldier!

You have a lot to say and I like reading it. Your perspective is needed!

May there be Peace in the New Year!

Sat Dec 31, 12:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger DeLLBerto said...

Same to you Lizzy!! I hope the New Year brings good things to you and yours and this country. If we can only get rid of the Bush Crime Family and his cronies.

Sat Dec 31, 01:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger dorsano said...

This a great story, Brian - I'm glad you posted it - one person can make a difference.

Sat Dec 31, 07:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lizzy said...

Oh Brian...

Guess what... you have been tagged!

Sat Dec 31, 07:28:00 PM EST  

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