The Means, The Ends, and The Torture Report

The torture report lands in our midst much like a pair of dirty underwear would.  Our faces twist squeamishly and we turn away.  There is too much exposed, would someone please remove this offensive thing which speaks too loudly and embarrasses too deeply?  Can you take it away so we can go on with life?  Can’t we pretend it never happened?

I remember reading about how some German citizens were made to walk through the death camps after the war, to bear witness to what they had allowed in their midst.


There is something about truth, isn’t there?

Dick Cheney said he’d do it all over again.  There’s this rationalization that ends justify means and that the image of God in a person can be ignored if it serves a “greater good”. One in five were innocent of any connection to terrorism.  They were tortured.  By our country.

“The non-stop use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was disturbing to CIA personnel at DETENTION SITE GREEN. These CIA personnel objected to the continued use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques against Abu Zubaydah, but were instructed by CIA Headquarters to continue using the techniques…”Several on the team profoundly affected.. .some to the point of tears and choking up. [Page 473]

“At least five CIA detainees were subjected to “rectal rehydration” or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity. …Majid Khan’s “lunch tray” consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was “pureed” and rectally infused. [Page 4]

“CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families—to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to “cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat.” [Page 4]

“CIA applied its so-called enhanced interrogation techniques in near non-stop fashion for days or weeks at a time.” Detainees were forced to stay awake for up to 180 hours while “standing or in painful stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.” Some were kept in a “dungeon” that was completely dark and were “constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste. ” At least one detainee was told he could only leave CIA custody “in a coffin-shaped box.”

It’s so easy to turn away, to turn toward the bright twinkling lights of Christmas, to put it all into a mental file folder named “Things Which Are Sad And Complex”.  Some others file it under “Got What’s Coming To Them” or “Ends Justifying Means” or something worse yet. But I ask you; What if it was you?  What if you were arrested, though innocent of any crime, tortured, sexually assaulted, your family threatened, what if?  What if it was your child or your father going through this?  Would you accept this as a matter of course?  A necessity of intelligence-gathering?  Or would you say, rightfully, that this is a war crime?

Where do we go with what our nation has done?

Right to the homes of the people we have wronged.  Right there at their feet we should kneel and ask forgiveness for the evil that was done to them in the name of national security.  We should humbly admit our sin, we should go forward with “never again” blazing in our hearts and souls.

But we won’t do that.  We’ll build our walls higher and stockpile more weapons and cry the hype louder and make the fear deeper and we’ll justify.  And the people of God will turn away from the bloodied one, lying in the ditch, and the unbelieving world sees.

Where then is this Jesus?  Where He is always is, down in the ditch with the suffering, the bloodied, and do you see Him staring back up at us, passing by?  Wondering why His children find so many excuses not to see?

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