When Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration figures say that waterboarding “saved lives,” it should be put in the category of statements by miscreants trying to preserve their own skins.
We are not brutes. Even if Cheney is a brute, we do not want the United States of America to become brutish. If that happened, there would be no country to honor, no nation worth preserving. Evil is wrong, even when it is our evil.
There is something ludicrous about Christians endorsing torture and pretending it’s consistent with their Christianity. Such Christians are brutes, and transform their religion into a mockery of the Sermon on the Mount. Because some Islamic terrorists have transformed that religion into something brutish, should Christians follow suit? WWJD?
Despite Neocon claims to the contrary, waterboarding did not save any lives. It was not effective. We can determine this simply by noting how many times the two prisoners who were waterboarded were subjected to that treatment. The answer is hundreds of times. This is a definitive indication that these two high-priority targets were uncooperative and/or kept providing unreliable information. Once you’ve stooped to torture and it fails, you’ve pretty much reduced yourself to one option: more torture.
Then there’s the declaration by Matthew Alexander, a military interrogator who oversaw over 1000 interrogations, including some 300 he personally conducted in Iraq, who states unequivocally that “torture does not save lives.” In fact, just the opposite. Alexander maintains that the “harsh interrogation techniques” used in Iraq and at Guantanomo Bay “literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives.” This is because around 90% of the combatants the U. S. Army captured in Iraq turned out to be motivated to join the fight against us because of our mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo Bay. Faced with obvious evil by the United States, they were motivated to join the radical Islamicists and terrorists claiming to fight for Allah.
See the interview with Matthew Alexander here: http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/05/26/military-interrogations-torture-american-lives/
Meanwhile at home, a Pew study reveals that Christians—particularly those Christians who are the most avid church-goers—are more supportive of torture (and yes, the wording of the question was “torture”, not “enhanced interrogation techniques” or even “waterboarding”) than unchurched or non-religious Americans. See the Pew study at: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1210/torture-opinion-religious-differences
Is it not curious to Christians that in the U. S., the non-religious are largely against torture while the majority of Christians support it? Religions–and particularly a religion like Christianity–are supposed to elevate the moral fabric of society. Yet in the United States, Christianity is doing the opposite today.
Christianity opposes nudity, premarital sex, use of birth control, lust—all in its continuing effort to stamp out bodily pleasure—yet torture is ok. Bodily pleasure is verbotten, but inflicting pain is no problem at all.
It is a warped and twisted morality these spiritual religions try to foist on us. And why? Ultimately the afterlife religions begin with a warped premise: they deny the primacy of the body. They are determined to pretend that “life” belongs outside of the body, isolated from anything “bodily.” Therefore the body is not important, its pleasures no good, and hurting the body is ok.
Nothing healthy or good can result from that.
When it comes to torture and sex, why don’t Christians ask WWJD? Jesus was pretty forgiving about sex, it would seem. He didn’t mind accepting a prostitute into his inner circle—openly, not stashed in a back alley hotel room out of sight like religious leaders today. And would Jesus—he of “turn the other cheek”—have winked at torture? I would guess not.
But WWJD doesn’t matter. Jesus is long dead. WWCD—What Would Christians do?–that’s the only question that matters today. And Christians in the United States have given their answer. They would torture. And they have. And they find it satisfying.
Torturing its enemies is not something new for Christianity. We saw it during the inquisition, just as we have seen it under the Bush administration. We must not forget that W. was our most visibly Christian President to date. His support came from the most active among the Christian population of voters, those who attend church regularly. On the other hand, intermitant and non-church-goers as a group voted against Bush in both 2000 and 2004. And what was the result of these most active church-attending Christians putting one of their own into office? Torture & preemptive war.
I don’t believe in God, but if I did I would never torture or endorse torture—if only out of fear of God’s immense disapproval. Besides, I know in my heart that torturing someone is wrong; that is enough to be against it. But if I also knew there was a God who opposes (and will eventually punish us for) our evil deeds, surely I would take pains to oppose the practice of torture rather than partake in it. Yet so-called believers—these ardent Christians who supported (and still support) Bush & Cheney—feel no such concern about torture.
Why? Do they not really believe in God? Are they closet atheists?
No, they are not atheists, closet or otherwise. The statistics indicate atheists were far more likely to oppose Bush and his regime of torture. So what is it about American Christians? What kind of God do they believe in? A Supreme Torturer?
Is Satan their God? Have they gone over to the dark side, as their embrace of torture indicates? Is this Christianity’s new face?