Sunday, November 11, 2007

Defining The Difference Between Right And Wrong

My brain has been kind of buggy all week about the torture discussion running through the news media for most of this week. There are all kinds of secret memos and other paperwork being leaked that points the proverbial smoking gun at all of us over what it seems that our government has been up to with it's prisoners. After some thinking and a little soulsearching, I've come to the conclusion that I just can't trust a group of people that stop torturing by changing the title of the form of questioning to make it sound less painful. If you're doing this supposedly in my name, then you don't get to change the rules to spite the game.

There are all kinds of new terms showing up these days. You've got "intense interrogation" and "aggressive questioning" for starters and I'd bet good money that there will be a new term by the time I finish writing this. The terms about have the benign feeling of government doublespeak that clouds the reality of what they are talking about. Acts like waterboarding do not have anything to do with intense or aggressive anything. These acts have everything to do with causing the person being acted upon to seriously think that they're going to die. That moves way past those terms into a place that makes a normal sane person question their actions or at least I hope that it does.

To add into this miasma of backtalk, you now have people being interviewed and answering questions in ways that make them sound either wickedly uninformed or just plain rock stupid. For example, there is the interview that Rudy Guliani gave to FOX News during the last week where he was asked about his views of waterboarding. His response, which included changing every reference to waterboarding into aggressive questioning, stated that there are a lot less members of the Mafia on the streets of New York thanks to his aggressive questioning. Given the fact that they really didn't need to be aggressive with their questions due to the fact that they had bugged one of the mafia member's homes and had extensive tape recordings or the fact that city DAs don't actually question suspects, the answer that Guliani gave made it sound like it was something that he had done himself. It would be seem like a long stretch to think that there is a secret waterboarding room somewhere in police headquarters but then again this is also the person that has a candidacy based around what was primarily a failure of his management of the city he was mayor of. It all just makes the man look like he doesn't have a clue what he's actually talking about.

I am not one of those people that thinks that the government of my country only does good and has never done anything that could be looked at in a questionable way to protect me. With threat levels the way they tend to be at that level or business, many people on all sides get chewed up by the machinery of war and politics. That being said, it disheartens me and leaves me with a worrisome feeling in my stomach when I think about how it feels like we're allowing members of the current administration to kill off some of the principles and ideals the country was founded on. By trying to manuever around the truth with distorting language, all it does is makes us sound like we're trying to excuse away the naughty things that we've done. Sending someone off to a foreign country to be aggressively questioned or strapping them down to a waterboarding table in Guantanamo is the same thing. It doesn't matter what you call it. It all comes out the same in the light of simple logical truth.


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