In my last post I informed all of you I’d be writing an essay on torture for my final in writing 122. As I was doing research for the topic I came across a great old article from the New Yorker, “Torture at Abu Ghraib,” which I made the mistake of posting to my Facebook page.
About a week later I got a text from my conservative, baby-boomer, step-dad. Unfortunately, I deleted what he wrote because it pissed me off, but I remember some key things he mentioned. He said he read the article and noticed it never mentioned our solders fighting and dying to fight an evil terrorist regime while bringing a “sane religion” to Iraq. He wrote something about terrorist rape rooms, and the atrocities of Al-Qaeda. And he actually wrapped up his spiel by telling me: “as someone who wants to be a journalist” I should be “fair and balanced.” That’s right, a Fox “News” reference–of which he’s been on a steady diet for too many years.
As you might have guessed, I’m not going to post my final on Facebook. I think in some way he was trying to justify torture by saying that our enemies have done equal or worse to us. But the article I posted and my essay don’t have anything to do with the war, or Al-Qaeda, it’s just a good reference people will know–torture happens all over the world–just thought I’d use something familiar to our culture to illustrate one of the great pitfalls of prisons like the one at Abu Ghraib, it puts people in situations where it’s too easy to abuse power.
Not to give away the ending of my essay, but not only is torture illegal, it just doesn’t work, and even the very people who write the handbooks on Torture–the CIA–admit it: “physical abuse or other degrading treatment was rejected, (by their interrogators) not only because it is wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective.” And the FBI back them up: “‘Harsh methods produce unreliable information from people who will say anything to stop the pain,’ no matter if the information is factual or fictional.” People attempt to justify brutality on others with pointless hypothetical situations, but the truth is that it’s an embarrassment to our nation and military, and it’s useless above all else. And to those who think it’s justified because of the violence that’s been inflicted on us I leave you with this: an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
On a much lighter note, I’m sure my step-dad is not the first to say it, but “sane religion” might be my new favorite oxymoron.