Let’s Talk About Torture

I have been proud to host many civil discussions on my column. We have talked about abortion, pornography, and various Bush controversies without ripping each other’s eyes out. It has been lovely.

But this is not going to be one of those articles.

Yesterday, the breaking news was that an American had actually been held and tortured at an American naval base in Iraq. His torture amounted only to being cold, subjected to bright lights and loud music, and repeatedly interrogated under the conviction that he was involved in something suspicious. He lost over three months of his life this way.

Now, compared to what others have lost in our prisons, this is nothing. Others have lost their dignity, their health, and their lives. What makes this story remarkable is that it is your final wake up call.

No longer can we sit back and say that the loss of habeus corpus only applies to non-citizens and that makes it o.k.

No longer can we say that only people who are doing something wrong are subject to indefinite imprisonment and that makes it o.k.

No longer can we find some excuse why it will never be us, and let that make it all o.k.

The simple fact is this:
One day, you could wake up to the sound of your front door being broken down. You could find yourself handcuffed and hauled out of your house, while your family screams in the background. You could find yourself in a car, on a plane, in a cell in a location you do not know, and will not be told. You could be tortured lightly or severely, and you will have no idea how long it will continue. You will not be given a lawyer. You will not be given a phone call. You will not know why you are there.

You could find yourself being asked a lot of questions by unsympathetic men who assume you have somehow contributed to the deaths of others. You could find yourself in some rather uncomfortable positions while they are talking to you. You could find yourself thinking of your loved ones, and wondering if they know you are still alive. You could find yourself wondering if, in fact, you will get out alive.

You could find yourself losing years of your life, never to have them given back. You could find yourself eventually dismissed without explanation or apology or compensation.

Make no mistake. This could be you.

Right now, this is not you. But it is hundreds of men and children from around the world. They need your help, they need your outrage. If you haven’t been able to do anything for them, now is the time to do it for yourself. Before the day comes where you find yourself hoping a stranger will do something for you that you would never have been willing to do for them.