Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Torture Is Bad

I have not approved of how my nation has conducted its defense ever since 9/11.

The reason I don't approve is because of the Knights Templar.

The Knights Templar were arrogant, violent, mass murderers, and incredibly wealthy. In order to take their wealth, the king of France had them rounded up and tortured until they admitted to all sorts of absurd and completely unbelievable behavior. Many of them were burned at the stake after very lengthy imprisonments, for which there was no due process.

Before the Knights Templar were rounded up and tortured, your average medieval European did not like them. After the Knights Templar were rounded up and tortured, they became martyrs, heroes, and their fame lives to this day.

I've read quite a bit about how these men were tortured. It's scary how little the techniques have changed since the early 1200s. The Knights Templar were chained in dark dungeons where they were subjected to the whims of the outdoor temperature. They were fed hog slop and deprived of sleep and daylight. They were not allowed to wear clothing, except in "court." The Inquisition would torture one man while the others watched.

All of this barbaric torture did not elicit a single verifiable "confession," because there were no charges filed in the first place.

I cannot believe that the United States of America is treating human beings this way in the 21st century. It boggles the mind.

It also runs absolutely counter to every logical manner of national defense.

When people are tortured, those who love them venerate them. Those who might have been mildly interested in the cause become zealous about it. Torture does not curb terrorism. It creates martyrs. Heroes. It reflects badly on the nation that initiates the torture. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but in the centuries to come, even in the decades to come. Even in the nearest years to come.

I would rather myself and my beloved daughters be killed in a terrorist attack than be a citizen that condones the inhumane treatment of individuals in my defense. In fact, in the remote chance that anyone in my family actually is harmed by a terrorist, refer to this post! I do not condone torture!

The men who flew those planes into buildings were barbarians. Our response to those acts has been equally barbaric. What is it we teach kids about bullying? Don't fight back! But why, then, have we responded to bullying by being worse than our attackers? What does that solve? What does that say about us?

It could very well be that, 800 years from now, there will be boys' service clubs called Bin Laden. Jacques de Molay was pretty much a dimwit when he led the Templars and was burnt at the stake. Now his name is highly regarded. Torture does that. It makes heroes out of people whose deeds should be vilified or at least long forgotten.

I'm ashamed of my nation. "God bless America" is a strong damnation of the Christian deity.


Cliff said...

I share your shame, Anne. The recent opinion polls suggesting wide support for torture among almost all demographic groups in this country saddens, but does not surprise me. Most of the people I know with whom I've discussed this issue support, to varying degrees, the use of torture by the US Government. A number of them self-identify as liberal Democrats, by the way.

I'm old enough to remember being assured that the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union was depraved, partly because it allegedly resorted to torture. This noble country, I was also assured, would never do such a barbaric thing. Those were the days.

I am reminded of Ghandi's response to the question: "Sir, what do you think of Western Civilization?" His response: "It's a nice idea."

I'd like to imagine that Ares would tell us that the point of war is to defeat the enemy, not to make an endless supply of new ones. Time to re-read the Iliad!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I read a quotation once that said a nation does not engage in torture because it wants to obtain the truth. A nation engages in torture because the truth is irrelevant to it. I wish I knew who said this. I think it's very profound.

Helen/Hawk said...

Strong Statement, for which I thank you.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. Torture is not the mark of a civilized society, it is that of a barbaric one.


I agree..I'm ashamed of our country...but why I would like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to be treated the sad.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you all -- torture is immoral and immature and uncivilized. We have forces in our country now that are trying, and succeeding, in uncivilizing us. The Left blames the Right and the Right blames the Left, but it is a third group, a third philosophy. Unfortunately it is the end result of Capitalism, especially when Capitalism has become a religion, as it has in the US. Capitalism only works temporarily, in a frontier society. It cannot produce a sustainable economy. We need to change direction.