Trump's war-crimes pardons will have lasting consequences

The American officer who told me the story would later lead part of the clean-up effort at Abu Ghraib, after the exposure of maltreatment of prisoners there. He told his troops in Iraq: The way the U.S. Army had treated German POWs in 1943 paid security dividends for 40 years afterward. The way the Army treats its prisoners today will matter just as much 40 years from now.

The armed forces of the United States do their outmost to fight lawfully and humanely not only because it is the right thing to do. They do their utmost because it is also the smart thing to do. Every war ends. The memories from that war persist for decades.

War is horrible enough when fought honorably. To join dishonor to horror is no victory for any American cause.