22 September 2006

This is America?

Throw away all the legal language, all the big words, all the distancing tactics and take a look at what it really is our country is poised to do.

We’re about to say, with our eyes wide open, that torturing other people is acceptable.

Our mad president, who tortured small animals as a child, is about to be given the power to decide what “torture” is.

We’re saying this is OK because the people we’ll torture are bad guys. Terrorists. They want to hurt us, so they don’t deserve any better. Make ‘em scream.

But this behavior destroys not only those who are tortured, but those who practice torture. The world has a long and dark history of torture and inhuman behavior. Human nature, always a slavering beast under the thin veneer of civilization, loves a good bloodbath. And once you start, stopping is nearly impossible.

So today, we’re good with torturing people we decide are terrorists, even though it’s been proven time and time again, throughout history, that torture doesn’t work.

Tomorrow, perhaps we’ll torture other people who we think are out to do us harm.

The day after that, the definition of who we torture will grow fuzzy. It could be just about anyone we decide is a threat.

It could be your son or daughter, your mother or father. Your neighbor. Your best friend. It could be me.

It could be you.

You think this couldn’t happen in America? Think again. We’re considering savagery in broad daylight. We’re considering barbarism at the highest levels of our government. Our government in America is representative – it does what we, the American people, want it to do.

Because we’re fearful and think it will make us safer, we’re saying we want our government to shackle people to walls in 50 degree rooms while we throw ice water on them. Or force them to listen to music at decibal levels that can burst their eardrums. We’re saying it’s just fine to attach wires to the most sensitive parts of their bodies and send bursts of electricity coursing into them. Or perhaps merely beat them with fists and boots and truncheons until they’re screaming in agony.

Goodness. Why be coy? Just get the pliers and rip out their fingernails by the roots.

I’m sure that my limited imagination hasn’t even touched on the many ways we can make people suffer horribly. And as long as they don’t actually die, we think this is ... OK?

Is this America?

Is this the “land of the free, and the home of the brave?”

What’s brave about torturing other human beings? We fought two world wars and a Cold War for this?

This is the face of evil, of power gone rancid. This is the face of cowardly fear. This is the face of barbarism, of savagery, the face of a twisted people who’ve lost their souls.

No. No lost. Willingly given them up. And for what? What will America get in return for going over to the dark side?

You know, try as I might, I can’t think of a single good thing that can come of this. Instead, I see nothing but infamy and shame, a once-great country destroyed.

Is this not exactly what Osama bin Ladin wanted when he sent airliners hurtling into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? My god, it only took five years to bring us down.

We have a brief window of time. We can reject this. We can BE the land of the free and the home of the brave, show some courage, show some moral strength, show that we’re more than vindictive, spoiled, psychopathic children.

We can tell our leaders “NO,” that Americans have honor, that Americans do not torture.

But we’d better not wait long to stand up to those who’d take us, willingly, into the abyss with them. Or it will be too late.

Once it’s done, America will be no more.


Mike Kretzler said...

Thanks for this. I'm stunned to silence by what America has become. In fact, I've been stunned since 9/11 -- and not because of the planes into the towers, but because I knew what would come. It's been no worse than I thought, but it's been easier for the administration than I thought it would be. So, thanks again for finding the words that elude me. Keep it up.

Montag said...

Excellent post. The "national debate" that our "leaders" have been conducting on this measure has been a farce. Both scary and disgusting.

Meanwhile, on the up side, it's a new television season and people are getting back into their favorite shows.