Work has been keeping me busy with two looming proposal deadlines & stacks of lab reports demanding grading. But I’ve been paying attention to the latest news, and to tell you the truth, I’ve been rather uninspired to write about anything (until tonight, when I came across two interesting science stories (I’ll talk about later)).
Politics news has been rather boring. Hillary made a misstep at the debate on Sunday, but it turns out, nobody cares! In fact, 1/3 of the people in the country think politicians have their best interests in mind! Fools!
I think what I find the most amusing is all the waterboarding that’s going on. Now, according to some official records, the US has officially waterboarded 3 people. Well, Code Pink has done more than that! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE STOP THE TORTURE!
On a tangent, I’ve been relatively quiet on the whole issue of torture. It’s good we have the public debate on torture (something you won’t get in Cuba), but I didn’t want to weigh in because there’s no solid definition for torture. One person’s torture is not another person’s torture. And some torture works, and other torture doesn’t. Is sleep deprivation torture? Cold rooms (if that’s the case, the university I work at needs to be contacted by Amnesty International)? Electroshock? Waterboarding? Loud music? Loud Striesand?
What needs to be done, and will never be done, is a definition of acceptable interrogation techniques and a list of unacceptable interrogation techniques, and then define those as torture. If most think waterboarding is torture, then it’s torture. If they think electroshock is OK, then it’s not torture.
I think Code Pink has done an invaluable public service by having their “waterboarding-in” on the steps of the Capitol. If Code Pink can actually get members to get waterboarded, in public, repeatedly, without worry of public reprisal, then waterboarding isn’t as serious as we thought.
Think about it. If Code Pink was out in front of the Capitol pulling out fingernails with pliers, somebody would get arrested. Smashing toes with hammers? Arrested. But if they wheeled up some speakers and started blasting Korn? No cops. (They did that to me at the Student Union. That was fun.) Hooking Cindy Sheehan up to a car battery? Torture. Having a press conference with Cindy Sheehan? Torture, too!
But let’s face it. Once our country defines and starts condoning some things that may or may not be torture, then we’re opening our people up to get tortured as well. Some claim that to be a problem. but if Al Queda gets ahold of some of our troops, are they going to treat them well? What about Jill Carroll from the Christian Science Monitor who was coerced into saying her kidnappers were some really nice guys? And she was a civilian. Think what they’d do an American serviceman.
But in reality, we don’t want to talk about torture because we’re America. We’re supposed to be land of the free. But much of the rest of the world is focused on Guantanomo Bay. They think the US is just one big torture factory. So why should we talk about this and give the rest of the world an official reason to hate us? And what does that do to the national conscience once we say some torture techniques are ok?
What’s best is a gray area. We know the CIA has to do some unconscionable things for reasons of national security. We don’t like it, and if we find out about it, we’ll take them to task. But to remove any interrogation techniques from the table because some people can’t stomach it is silly. This debate has good arguments on both sides of the coin, but once the government defines what torture is and what it can or can’t do, then it condones some torture, and we can’t have a government that tacitly condones torture.