The occupation of Iraq and the Bush adminstration have put to the test the mettle of many soldiers who swore first to uphold the constitution. Among them are several Asian American soldiers who have an interesting historical perspective on the use of torture.

“Torture is un-lawful”, are the first words of his keynote address, part of the “War on Terror” lecture series presented by the Human Rights Center at Berkeley. In 2004 Taguba was lead investigator into conditions at the US military’s Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq. His highly critical report was publicized throughout the world. The 6,000-page report gave evidence of torture, prisoner abuse, and a failure of leadership and responsibility at the highest levels of authority. The report was hailed as a thorough investigation completed in only 30 days. But in January 2006, Taguba received a phone call from the Army’s Vice-Chief of Staff who offered no reason but said, “I need you to retire by January of 2007.” This Taguba did after 34 years of active duty.

Other casualties of their conscience are Lt Ehren Watada and Captain James Yee who have not only questioned torture but the legality of the war itself.

In my interviews with war resistor First Lieutenant Ehren Watada; James Yee, the former captain and Muslim chaplin at Guantanamo Bay Prison; and Taguba, they all remain strong believers in the US constitution, its principals and the ability of the US military to protect them. Despite the different ways they acted on their beliefs and despite differing opinions, what remains is their commitment to a firm set of ideals and their willingness to pay a price for it.