RELIGION OR ROAD RAGE?
Stories of what is happening at Guantanamo have been circling the Internet for some time now. The last story concerned the interrogation of a prisoner using fake menstrual blood, which was supposedly smeared over his face. Then the water was turned off in his cell, so he could not wash up before prayers.
If all of this is true, we must be hovering between idiocy and insanity, or both. We certainly are not going to win the "hearts and minds" of the Arab people with these things going on. I can't even imagine a woman, clad in the military uniform of the United States, concealing red ink in her clothing somehow, and using her fingers to dip into it and smear it over the face of a prisoner.
Does this make people talk? Does this make them open up and tell all? I would rather think that it would promote a festering hatred so deep that it would be like a burning pit within the person being tortured. To humiliate people, ridicule their religion, undress them, make sexual advances, etc., is so juvenile, so ridiculous, so corrupted, that it is difficult to imagine it being done.
Can't you imagine them discussing a session..."Hey, Josephine. I'll strip his clothes off and bring the dogs in, while you fix up that red ink container and get it in place. Then you smear him with it. Hee, hee! I can imagine what he'll think!"
Somehow this does not comply with the squeaky clean, upright, honest and forthright image I have always had of the American military. No wonder their recruitment numbers are down! It's good to know that most American young people want to sleep at night and be able to look at themselves in a mirror without a feeling of shame!
I used to think of torture as having a drop of water fall on your head for hours on end, slivers of bamboo driven up your fingernails, beatings, burnings, etc. I never thought of torture being so sexual. It seems we have dreamed up X-Rated Torture, not to be discussed with children under eighteen.
What is it with this "Enemy Combatants" title, anyway? Why don't we call them "Prisoners of War"? Well, the President explained that is because this isn't a normal war. It's a different kind of war. These people do not wear uniforms, thus they do not deserve the title of Prisoners of War.
But then, the President turns right around and describes himself as a "War President", and talks incessantly of the "War in Iraq" and the "War on Terror". Evidently he considers himself to be at War, but the people he is fighting are not! The only answer to the question about the title of "Enemy Combatant" is that it is an effort to evade the rules of the Geneva Convention. There would be only one reason to evade the Geneva Accords.... and that is to avoid international punishment for treating prisoners more harshly.
Of course, we seem to be fighting a brutal enemy. They lop off heads of people they have kidnapped and seem to have no qualms about killing their own people. On the other hand, perhaps we should not lower ourselves to their status. Perhaps the civilized world should hang on to civilized behavior. Without it, we are no better than the ones we are fighting. It's like talking to your children...."Now, Bobby, I don't care if Billy did break your Game Boy, you can't hit him with that hammer!"
Then, too, there is that lingering question about "insurgents". Are they horrible American-hating terrorists, trained by bin Laden, determined to destroy Democracy? Or are they the "Freedom Fighters" some Iraqi think they are, battling for their homeland? How can we know?
Somehow, in the scant six years that George Bush has been at the helm of our ship of state, it seems the world has gone berserk. Not only are we occupying Afghanistan and Iraq, but there is doomsday talk of nuclear power from both Iran and North Korea. Our soldiers were recently fighting insurgents along the border of Syria. And, anywhere in the world that our President visits, thousands of people turn out to protest his actions.
The only ones not protesting too loudly are Americans. If they try, they are courting arrest. But most Americans, even though they believe Iraq is a mess and the domestic economy is in bad shape, simply shake their heads and go along with the flow. So far, nothing has happened to make the average American angry enough to stop watching American Idol and take to the streets in protest. However, I fear that time will come.
It's a strange thing to say, but...in America...the more religious you are, the more you approve the War, the more you uphold the methods of interrogation, the more you excuse George Bush. I have trouble understanding that, because I am not used to being a Crusader, sword in hand, ready for battle. To me, the God of the Christian Right is so wrathful he could be described as apoplectic, fuming and raging indignantly, like someone afflicted with Road Rage after being sideswiped by another motorist.
Somehow the Christian Right has invented this God of Anger and they have used him to whip up a froth of moral indignation among their peers, until it seems that old, standard morality has faded and a new morality is taking its place, a Morality of Outraged Bestiality, where anything goes, as long as a goal is reached. Thus, we have intimidation and character assassination of political enemies; and barbaric interrogation of Enemy Combatants.
The political pendulum always swings, and I can imagine the historians writing of this era of Americana. There will be a dirth of dark and depressing tales, of Americans gone amuk in a frenzy of puritanical outrage, cloaking atrocities as a War against Terror, masking brutality with patriotism. Those history books will be written...but, as George Bush says, "Who cares? We'll all be dead!".