When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house: One was me. The other was my trumpet.
And, by golly, I may not have been any Harry James, or Satchmo or even Al Hirt. But I could do what no Gabriel nor brother before me had ever dared: torture my ‘dearest’ mother and father.
It was absolutely divine. Oy! Such pain. Such cruelty. Such suffering. And what could they do?
So, today, when I hear all this renewed postulating and posturing in the wake of bin Laden’s abrupt demise I need to know what we are really talking about.
Torture being right or wrong? That the torturing of some detainees seven years ago at CIA ‘black sites’ may have elicited tidbits of helpful information leading to his sudden execution the other day.
All I can say is: So?
If torture is such a terrible plague on our houses, then why do we ‘all’ do it. So readily. So easily. So willingly. So perpetually. So intentionally. So naturally.
Oh, we may not be slamming people into walls (Hmmm….nah, my ex would think it’s one of her lesbian lovers.). Shackling them in stress positions. Or keeping them awake for as long as 180 hours.
But we do unto others with every discomfiting spasm of our ignominious tempers. We torture when we’re driving. When we’re talking. When we’re working. When we’re playing. When we’re ‘playing around.’
We do it when we can. When we shouldn’t. And when we should know better. We pull the wings off of flies. And we tell our children lies that will torture them later, like post traumatic stress.
The only difference between torturing loved ones and enemies is what kind of dramatic grin is generated on our disconcerting puss. No doubt aided and abetted by the beer for breakfast or the weed savored after dinner.
All I can say is that the torture that ‘purportedly’ led to information that eventually sent bin Laden to Davy Jones’ locker, ignited too many touchdown jubilations. Our poorly college-educated hoi polloi seem to be better versed in the jingoistic myths of victory than they are in the lessons of war and the redundancy of history.
I knew damn well I was persecuting my ‘dearest’ parents when I would practice my horn at 5:30 in the morning in the attic room directly over their bedroom. Even if I was playing my mother’s favorite toot: “St. Louis Blues.”
The point being: I knew exactly what I was doing. Just as we all know what we are really doing when we freely torture one another in more ways than the IRS. We do it because we can. Because we want to. Because it fulfills a need in all of us. Hell, we can’t help ourselves. To be inhuman is to be human.
But we all know – or should know unless we are deaf, dumb and blind –that it is torture. And that torture is wrong.
There are no and’s, if’s or but’s here. And not just because we are supposed to be a righteous country. It is why we are a country. And why we are who we are.
You can’t be a little bit pregnant. Allowing torture on an evil-personified jihadist now, can and will — as we know what Bush, Dick & those Sodomites were capable of — eventually lead to abuses. Abrogation of our Bill of Rights. And, some brutal interrogation practices on simple civilians. Like you. And moi.
I mean, if a woman’s perfume makes me go all verbose, just think what I’d confess to under waterboarding. Something biblical comes to mind.
Torture is wrong. It’s unrighteous. It’s immoral.
But, apparently, it’s not illegal. At least, not in many cases.
We create an issue. Denude it’s philosophical, idealistic and moral nature. Stir it into the witch’s brew of our illegal-today-but-maybe-not-tomorrow-if-you’re-rich criminal, criminal justice system. And then we make minutiae differentiations between waterboarding as we were taught in the Philippines a hundred years ago, versus the technique we were sanctioned to use by a morally corrupt and sanctimonious U.S. Attorney General Asscroft.
Let’s not pretend we’re on holy ground here. We ain’t virgins. Nor are we ingénues.
We tortured Viet Cong combatants and threw them out of helicopters whether they told us the information we wanted or not. We forced Noriega out of his Panama palace by blasting torturous heavy rock music day and night. There is the Japanese water torture. There are 2 million folks in a Darfur resettlement camp being whimsically tortured by a beheading here and a rape there. In European dungeons we had the man in the iron mask among other tortuous acts.
We’ve done it before. It’s no secret. And it’s no secret that inevitably we will commit the sin again. And yet again.
In truth, torture doesn’t prove nothing except the fact the powerful can cruelly torment the weak. The information we gain from torture is no more reliable than the information we got from kissing Mata Hari.
“The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003,” said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council.”It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that bin Laden was likely to be living there.”
To think I am going to put this argument to rest makes me more insane than the folks who would only reconsider their positions if they, themselves, had their testicles hot wired to a Mack Truck battery.
My trumpet tortured my parents. And I still laugh at the memories. But the end rarely justifies the meanness.
An enemy hates us and destroys a building. We hate back and destroy their country. An eye for an eyelash. An eye for an eye. An ear for an ear. A tongue for a tongue. A nose for a nose.
Pretty soon we will all not only be blind, but deaf and dumb. Then we will all be back where we started. Not able to see one another. Hear one another. Or talk to one another. Nothing more than amoebas bumping into one another.
Undoubtedly, we’ll still find a way to torture each other.
Did I mention that my brother plays the violin?
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.