Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mini-Post: A Humble Question...

This has been on my mind a lot lately, ever since You-Know-Who was shot and killed on the night I became an Official Buddhist (which I'll always remember with weirdness). There's been this running debate on the CNN chat boards, which I really ought not to read, about whether or not "enhanced interrogation techniques" at Guantanamo led to this. And whether or not we should continue to use said techniques in our endless pursuit of justice, national security and cheap oil. Which is not a fair question, but then I'm not a fair person.

Still, what I really want to know is this. Putting aside for a moment what "waterboarding" does to the person "waterboarded", what does it do to the person or persons doing the "waterboarding"? If you're, say, a 19-year-old kid in a uniform, and your boss tells you, "Please nearly drown this guy, and that's an order," what does that do to the inside of your head? Besides making you a person who is willing to do that sort of thing--and just because someone tells you to, which, in my opinion, is a hell of a bad reason to do a bad thing--how does that leave you, when you have to deal with other human beings for, say, the rest of your life? Are you able to separate out that part of your life from the rest of it, or do you wake up from nightmares for the next seventy years? What if one of your future kids drowns or has a near-drowning incident? (They happen; I almost drowned when I was about five and again when I was about eight, and I've talked to plenty of people--a lot of them swimmers, oddly enough--who say there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I when it comes to near-drownings.) How does that mess with your head?

I guess that is more than one humble question. Well, I'll throw another one on the pile. Run this one by John McCain, maybe: What does it say about our country, that we're willing to create these moral dilemmas for ourselves, and put our people in the situation to become the kind of people who would do those kinds of things? No, I'm not gonna clarify that; hash out the semantics yourselves. Later.


wolfwhosings said...

I wonder what would happen if it were madated that if we pull that kind of "enhanced interrogation" a randomly chosen citizen would be required to stand behind soundproof one way glass and watch it unfold.

(Also, yeh... though of less worldly import, my mom's cat was hit by a car the night of my confirmation. I always remember the two things with equal weight, forever intertwined. Perhaps there are lessons to be had.)

Jen said...

Yeah, interesting how that works, isn't it? I got the results of some medical tests on the day 9/11 happened. I barely remember where I was when 9/11 happened but I remember what I was wearing when I got the test results. Which just goes to show something or other.