Legitimate Torture

On my way home from work today I listened to Triple J’s ‘Hack’ , and heard an interview with an American about survival schools and torture.  The aim of the survival schools is to equip specialized troops to cope with torture by torturing them, thus reducing fear of the unknown.  His comments on torture laws in America shocked me.  Torture is defined as the intent to cause someone grievous harm, and if mental, must cause prolonged harm.  The issue is the word “intent”.  If the intent is to obtain information, it is not considered torture in an illegal sense.  I find that disturbing.  How far can one degrade and deeply abuse another before the legal system comes to the defense of the victim?  The attitudes underlying decrees such as this shed ominous light on the recent declaration by David Hicks that he was not tortured while in Guantanamo Bay.  Is his comment a true reflection of his treatment, or merely in line with the US definition?   It is hard to believe that a Christian nation can justify torture of God’s own reflected image in the name of information gathering.

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5 thoughts on “Legitimate Torture

  1. America doesn’t follow my God. For that matter it doesn’t follow the God depicted in the old testament, he put in place many limits for the treatment of enemies. America follows the god of $$$

  2. I’d agree with Gareth that America doesn’t follow a God, nor is it in any sense a Christian nation. There are some propagandists who would state that it is, but in a sense of morals (religion set aside), we are a bankrupt nation, just like all the rest of the world.

    However, let’s not forget that the church hasn’t been above torture either. Anyone remember the Crusades and the Inquisition?

    Good thoughts, as always, Christina!

  3. i have been pondering gareth’s comment, and i agree. i’m not sure what distant indistinct deity america lays claim as a nation-state, but as much as i look for jesus in any founding documents, i don’t see it. america the religious nation? – yes. america the christian nation? – no.

    some wordcraft to that end…

    champions of the earth

    O Lord, please help us…as we are driven by our lusts
    and our hearts focused on a vacillating obsession
    [our path laden with fool’s gold]

    they call us champions of the earth letting freedom ring
    although choked with luxury and a fist full of dollars
    [to pay for the damage we incur]

    yet surrounded we are with toxic fumes of deceit
    that fill this land and lungs of many who claim
    [Jesus as their Redeemer revered]

    yet is wisdom to be found
    among those manipulating crowds like saintly Geppetto?
    [is not Your Kingdom more than an American dream?]

    a choice rises before us to decide who do we serve
    crushing Mammon and Violence perturbed
    [embarrassed by a Saviour who died on a cross]

    Do not give us, nor rather would we have
    a triumphant Leader dispensing dollars and sense
    [manipulating the cravings of a moveable feast]

    Come yet again to this land of beauty
    With Your Spirit pour forth on all flesh
    [for us to be lead into Your will being

  4. America has a long history with torture. Possibly the most odious instances took place during the Salem witch trials when hundreds of young women were brutally tortured and murdered.That was in like, the 1600’s and happened in a theocratic Christian community. Really, despite what the American evangelical movement might claim, the United States is not a Christian nation-nor was it ever meant to be, ere the establishment clause the founding fathers wrote into the U.S. constitution. Not to say that it wouldn’t be really a very good thing if more people in this county actually lived by Jesus’s moral teachings (including a great deal of Christians), or some sort of sane moral code and ethics be it religious or not. But thats not likely. Americans have a “get the bad guy and make him pay” mentality, and if that includes torture and war all the time then theres craploads of people here who will cheer it on.
    Thanks for posting Christina,as ever your writing is good food for thought.

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