Thursday, March 27

A Torture Soul

(This was my final essay for my wr-121 class at MHCC. It is an "A" paper and I received and "A" for the course as well)

A Tortured Soul 

     BOOM! You are jolted awake, hooded men in black uniforms, having kicked down your door, burst into your bedroom. They throw you face down to the floor and bind your hands. A hood is shoved over your head and its “zip-tie” is cinched, tightly around your neck. Sharply a needle into your arm, you begin to loose consciousness. The sound of your wife, screaming hysterically, is the last sound you hear. You awaken to find that you have been transported thousands of miles beyond the sovereign borders of your homeland and are a prisoner in one of the now, not so secret, CIA sponsored interrogation centers in Afghanistan. You have just experienced what the current US administration refers to as extraordinary rendition, or what you and I would call kidnapping. Still in your hood, two men grab you, strap you to a hard flat board, raise your feet slightly above your head, as cold water is poured over your nose and mouth in order to “simulate” repeated drowning. This, so called, “aggressive interrogation” technique, known as waterboarding, was first used by the Spanish Inquisition. It is endorsed and used by US officials in the interrogation of those individuals suspected of terrorism. On March 8th, 2008, President Bush had before him a bill that would ban such torture techniques from being used by any US officials or agencies. He chose to veto it. His reason was clear, stating that, “Because the danger remains, we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists. ”, (Bush 2). Despite swearing an oath, “…to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,…” (Constitution 29), President Bush has, with a single, vorpal-like, stroke of his pen, struck at the heart of our nations moral compass, the very soul of our nation. When a great nation, that often claims great moral authority, by virtue of their past actions, and a treasured and tested set of governing, or guiding principles, chooses to abandon those ideals, ignore the moral compass of our Constitution, then the nation itself becomes lost, depressed, and experiences the loss of its soul.

The argument for torture is a simple one. Apply enough emotional or physical duress to an individual, and he or she will tell you what you wish to know. Unfortunately, dozens of career General Officers, numerous high ranking US officials and agencies such as the FBI disagree. Former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, in his debate with Senator John McCain, said this about the subject of torture,

"Waterboarding is torture, and torture violates the moral code of Americans and jeopardizes the country's security,... when we go to the point of violating our own moral code,… then instead of advancing our country, its safety and our security, we in fact jeopardize it...What we don't get is reliable information. What we do get is a challenged soldier who has participated in something that goes against not only his or her own moral code but against our own sense of justice in this country, "(Huckabee, You Tube).

What then, of this question of soul loss or damage? Robert Crawford, writes in an article entitled, Abuse puts soul of our nation at risk, for the Seattle Post Intelligencer,

"People who see the image of God in every human being cannot tolerate officially sanctioned torture,… If one knows of an evil and does not act, one becomes a "bystander" -- a person who by choosing to be silent enters into complicity with the evil witnessed. Torture is an absolute degradation of human dignity. Despite official denials, multiple sources have documented that torture has been widespread and systematic, up to and even including homicide. The question has become a stark one: Are we a society ruled by law? Or are we ruled by a president who proclaims his right to ignore the law, ignore the Constitution, dodge congressional and judicial oversight and exercise unlimited power in the name of national security?", (Crawford 3, 4, 7).

The individuals who wrote both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were, even by today’s standards, highly educated and deeply spiritual in both belief and practice.

Words like endowed, unalienable and liberty were chosen with great care. In the very beginning of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the writers of these documents chose to impart, “soul-level” qualities in the forming of our nation. “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” (Declaration 9). This singular phrase is the central reason, that so many see the United States, as a leader in the championing of individual rights. When combined with the other major soul quality, that of liberty, this country has set the worldwide standard for freedom. The word liberty has enhanced significance. It is mentioned in the very beginning of both of our Nation’s founding documents. It is this essential soul quality of liberty, so central to our nations founding ideals, that makes even the mere thought of torture so abhorrent.

When a nation who once possessed a strong moral compass, with a very clear idea of its guiding principles, repeatedly chooses to ignore and violate those values most sacred to it, then we risk the destruction of our national soul. Passing laws that are capable of stripping away our constitutionally guaranteed right of personal liberty, or by vetoing those laws that would restore and defend those rights and by reclassifying some citizens as terrorists, for the sole purpose of allowing them to be kidnapped, tortured and in some cases murdered, is an unholy violation of the soul of our nation. As Americans, we must demand that our President restore our nations honor, by fulfilling his sworn oath of office, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. So help him God!

Works Cited

Bush, George W. "President's Weekly Radio Address." The White House Press Office, Washington, D.C. 8 Mar. 2008. 11 Mar. 2008

Cato Institute. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Washington, D.C: Cato Institute, 2002.

Crawford, Robert. "Abuse puts soul of our nation at risk." Seattle Post Intelligencer 30 Mar. 2006. 11 Mar. 2008

Huckabee: You Tube Debate. Dir. You Tube. Perf. Mike Huckabee. You Tube, 2008.

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