A lot on my mind these days, and none of it fits nicely in a bullet point list.
Caught an HBO documentary the other day called “Taxi to the Dark Side”. (Not to be confused with “Taxi Cab Confessions”. Ew.) This show chronicled the events following 9/11 concerning US interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo Bay. And basically, how we abandoned the Geneva Convention, and brutalized human beings until finally the Supreme Court stopped the madness. It wasn’t until June of this year that the first detainee was granted habeas corpus rights.
I knew it was bad. I mean, I’ve seen those pictures, I’ve heard the stories. But, until I saw it all systematically laid out like that, it didn’t really penetrate. I know there aren’t many Bush supporters left out there– he’s made it VERY difficult to stay on that bandwagon, conservative or not. But if there are any of you out there, please understand that I am not trying to offend you. And if you want to defend him, then you’re welcome to it. But what he did, what he allowed to happen to these people in custody of the US Government– was wrong. Atrocious. And it’s not just that he allowed it– oh no, it wasn’t that passive. He is the one, along with Donald Rumsfield, that pushed for less restraint in interrogations. He’s the one that included waterboarding, something that the entire rest of the world considers torture. Not to mention the sexual abuse, the dehumanization, the physical and mental torture of these people.
I cannot understand how a man who calls himself Christian, perpetuated some of the greatest indignities and tortures inflicted on another human in our country’s history. I simply cannot resolve it in my mind. I know how fearful a time it was, how desperate we were for information, how much we wanted to prevent another terrorist act. But even with all that, there has to be a line we won’t cross, no matter what it costs us, especially those of us who call ourselves Christians. We abandoned the Geneva Convention, no small thing. It’s a code that the whole world has agreed to abide by, because we are a civilized race. It upholds the value of life, all life, friend or foe! It says, there are certain atrocities NO human deserves, no matter what the situation, be he an ally or enemy. How quickly we tossed it aside, when it stood in our way. Where is the global tribunal? Why wasn’t Bush held accountable for violating the G.C.?
It bears thinking, how far would we have gone to get the information we wanted? Under the whole mindset of that moment, why not bring in their families, and torture them, too? Their children, wives? That would have gotten them talking, don’t ya think? Nothing was stopping us. We needed to protect ourselves. How much more would we have justified in order to protect American soil?
When Bush was finally ordered by the Supreme Court to reign it in, and told him he must abide by the Geneva Convention, he created a loophole for himself. He quickly passed legislation that said basically, “yes, but it will be according to my own interpretation of those edicts- oh, and while we’re at it, I and those in my administration can’t be charged with ANY WAR CRIMES now or in the future.” He pardoned HIMSELF, people. No joke.
I don’t think I am overly idealistic. I do not intend for known terrorists or enemy combatants to have a cozy little stay with us. I do not love terrorists, and I do not hate America. I am not being unpatriotic. And don’t dare tell me to “love it or leave it” because that is in NO way the Biblical response to these kinds of issues! (grr!!) All that being said, I do understand the value of intelligence gained from those we’ve captured. But, there are other ways. Information given under duress is BAD info. It’s unreliable, much of the time completely fabricated!
There are others ways, more cumbersome, lengthy methods, but they work better, and the info isn’t tainted. It’s a fact, one that John McCain, with his first hand experience, has testified to before Congress. Torture doesn’t work.
But, say you’ve exhausted all the non-torture methods, and the info has dried up. Well, that’s it. It ends there! There have to be principles we will not relinquish under any circumstance. It’s awful, I know. I don’t want another 9/11, and neither do you. But we do what we can, within the confines of our faith. We obey God’s commandments, and we trust Him. And we must elect leaders who will do the same. The alternative, well- rebellion to God’s commands only leads to one end. Death. If we turn away from Him, we turn towards destruction. Individually, and as a nation.
Anyway, I realize this is a random, depressing sort of rant. But it’s been weighing on me, and I don’t know what else to do with it but yell it out. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’ve got to be PollyAnna all the time. I do not feel defeated by the battles of this world, but I am affected by them. I grieve over them. I think we who cling to justice, which comes from God, ought to be keenly aware of injustice. It is why we are here, to be light in the darkness.
You can yell, too, if you want. Maybe if there are enough of us, and we’re loud enough, then this sort of thing won’t happen again in our lifetime. Maybe, if we all send our next president one of those bracelets with “WWJD?” printed on it, he’ll look down at his wrist and notice it the next time legislation like this is handed to him.
Because Jesus Wouldn’t Do That.