THE PHILOSOPHY OF DR. MCDREAMY
Isn't it strange the way the human mind works? We are such a retaliatory bunch. We love to Dixie Chick our enemies, smash their products, refuse to buy them, even if we enjoy these products or need them. We not only believe in killing the messenger, we like to chew up the message with gnashing teeth and ruin the reputation of the person who sent it in the first place. So McDreamy is retaliating against his cheating wife by cheating on her.
"What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," my mother used to say. It took me a while to understand this phrase, but it clearly promotes the democratic justice of retaliation.
Thus, our leaders and their supporting minions have decided that it is excusable to subject prisoners to some type of torture, simply because our enemies...being barbarians...believe in beheading and other archaic forms of behavior. It is an excuse for retaliation! It is like saying that two wrongs result in a right. Like Dr. McDreamy, who excuses his infidelity by his explanation of walking into his home and finding his wife in bed with his best friend, we are excusing our desire to punish terrorists by trying to elicit confessions and information from them by torturing them.
In an ideal world, McDreamy would forgive his wife, work on their marital problems, and become a better husband. But, of course, that would disappoint the thousands of viewers, who are enjoying McDreamy's agonized lovemaking. Ratings would fall, sponsors would be unhappy, and profits would diminish.
In an ideal world, we would treat these prisoners humanely, communicate with them, become friends with them until they became victims of the Stockholm Syndrone and applied for American citizenship. Thus, Patty Hearst picked up a gun and helped in a bank robbery. Thus prisoners eventually identify with and sympathize with their captors.
We can yelp all we want about morality, but it is profits that count, in the long run. ...except for Howard Stern, of course. With him, Sex outweighs Profit! I tried watching Howard a few times on cable, but got completely turned off by the whole affair. I mean, if you are going to bare your breasts on public television, why should the image be blurred? If they cannot transmit a clear image, might as well leave their shirts on....or blouses. Plus, it was a completely machismo program. Where were the bared penises? I might have tuned in for them.
But, I digress. Back to the excuses for torturing our prisoners. Never before have we had a president argue in Congress FOR torture. Somehow, it doesn't seem quite American for this to happen. I can see it happening in Turkey or some place like that, but America is Abraham Lincoln, apple pie, Yoko Ono, whipped cream and Paris Hilton! How, in our frothy, wonderfully shallow world can our president beseech Congress for torture, as well as admit to Secret Prisons?
These prisons, he says, were wonderful places, no torture allowed, of course, with marvelous, vacation-like atmospheres provided for the prisoners, who may or may not have been terrorists. I am exaggerating a bit, but actually the president always claimed he did not approve torture...until recently, when torture seems to have become important to him. The thing is, if he has not tortured prisoners, and has never approved torture, why were these prisons secret? What is the use of secret prisons if you are not doing something clandestine?
Of course, in Congressional matters, they never come right out and call a spade a spade. It is not politically correct to do so. If they were confronted with a pile of cow manure, they would call it Bovine Excretionary Execrations. So, they do not say they are discussing methods of torture. Instead, they are discussing Interrogation Methods.
When the brouhaha was going on over Abu Ghraib, the soldiers who conducted these "softening" processes were arrested and many of them are in prison, even though they claimed their activities were approved by their superior officers. And it seems mighty ironic to me that similar activities that have imprisoned people for taking place in Abu Ghraib are now being promoted by the President. Perhaps that should result in some early paroles for these unintelligent, misguided footsoldiers.
Come to think of it, those activities in Abu Ghraib were so ridiculous, so bizarre, and so crazy, they were like some idiotic television cartoon supposedly made for children but exploiting violence and stupidity.
Put it this way. Waterboarding, from what I understand, is not an Olympic sport. It consists of holding someone underwater until their lungs are threatening to burst, sometimes with the use of plastic bags to make things worse in some way. When their air has completely run out and they are on the verge of death, they are swept out of the water and asked to tell all. Then, the procedure continues.
Would you tell? You bet your boots you'd spill your guts, and guts that you didn't even know you had. You would confess to anything, everything and all. Most of what you confessed to doing might well be sheer malarkey, born of desperation. All of it might be. It might lead investigators onto false paths with wrong information. And it would certainly mar the souls of anyone participating, marking them with an overriding guilt and recurring memories that would be bound to haunt them forever.
If it didn't mar their souls, marking them with an overriding guilt and recurring memories that would be bound to haunt them forever, I don't think I want to be around these people. I can't think of a worse job than being a professional torturer. Do they need a college degree for this? Do they eventually leave the CIA and become high school principals? Or do huge corporations hire them as problem-solvers?
This is McDreamy's problem, too. Sheer guilt, without the strength to face what he is doing and admit it. You can pretend to be a tough guy, and you can retaliate against your enemies. You can cheat on your wife, but you must shoulder your own sins and not blame them on her. But if you cannot admit what you are doing and face the fact that your methods are wrong, you are lost. You have become immoral, dishonorable and beyond hope.
So, you see, the moral question is not in whether or not we should permit prisoners to be tortured. It is only human to hate and fear a conscienceless enemy trying to kill innocent people. But, the moral question is whether or not we can stop making pitiful, retaliatory excuses and admit to ourselves that torture is always wrong, never right, and always vengeful.