Grandfather Tree

Now having come to understand that we are all spiritual beings who have chosen to temporarily live a physical existence on this planet, certain musings are inevitable, and shared here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Loss of Soul

Day 90, Year 0000 NE 0615

We have lost our soul as a nation.

There is a character from the movie "Brazil" (which has nothing to do with Brazil but was inspired by the song "Aquarela do Brasil") who is a torturer. He is a normal sort of guy. He stops to pick up milk after work, etc. but his job, day in and day out, is to torture people. He has a secretary who appears to be oblivious to what he is doing in his interrogation room, but of course she knows. She actually transcribes the screams and pleas made by the person being tortured.

This character ends up torturing a friend of his (of course it is nothing personal) who became a terrorist suspect when his name was incorrectly chosen by the computer because a fly fell on the mechanism as it was reading the name. But this is a movie, a very interesting but odd one by the way, which I would highly recommend at this time as it is eerily prophetic. But people don't actually live that way, do they? Especially not in this great country of ours that believes in human rights, that follows the constitution.

So what is movie and what is today's reality? We actually have (or rather had) video tape of government officials using waterboarding (that is an euphemisms if there ever was, even George Orwell couldn't have come up with one like that, it sounds like some sort of fun surfing thing). Why was the videotape made? Was it a training tape?

"Come on new recruits, we will have a short video today to show you some of the "harsh interrogation" techniques that you may need to use from time to time. But don't worry, this suspect is really a bad guy. He isn't even a Christian. This is the only way that we can talk to people like that. Besides, it's not like we are pulling off his fingernails or anything. Ha ha ha."

I can't help but think of the people around the torturers. The support staff. The mailroom people. The ones who bring in the pizza. The ones who make the lattes. The ones who fix the computers when they go down. Read on, for I will be appealing to you folks later.

Yukio Asano was a Japanese officer who used this technique on American soldiers during World War II. We tried the guy and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor.

The government argues that the world is different now because of terrorism. "We have to realize that thee guys show us no mercy so we cannot show them any." What?

There is a scene from an episode of the early Star Trek. Kirk is on a planet and he asks the local government to help him get some information about his missing crew. He beams into the government office to find the guy in the act of torturing someone. He asks him to stop and the government guy tells him that he is only doing what Kirk asked, trying to get information. Kirk has a fit, but cannot do anything because he has no jurisdiction and doesn't want to start a planetary war. So he says, "I will not sit here and watch you torture that guy," and he beams out.

Now Congress is really upset that the videotapes of torture were destroyed. As they should be. But please, don't focus entirely on the missing tape. So is it that important to watch it? We know that the tapes are of waterboarding. We know it is torture. So prosecute people for it, whether we have the tapes or not. Our new attorney general is of course no help. But what did Congress expect? He sat there in front of them during the hearings and said he didn't have enough information to be able to say whether waterboarding was torture or not.

When will someone in the government have the guts to do what is right? I put out an appeal to all government officials. The secretaries like the character in "Brazil." The information shufflers. The pizza deliverers. The computer IT geeks. Someone, please steal some documents and go to the press. Sneak a flash drive in and stick it in your boss's USB port and dump in some incriminating information, then upload it to a blog. Read up about Daniel Ellsberg. It is possible to find that bravery within. Daniel Ellsberg was not any more special than anyone else. He was a person who found his own inner strength and courage to do what he knew he had to do, to find his own soul. He did it at great personal risk, and our country had a chance to get its soul back then. It can happen again. It is time to act.

There is a scene from the movie "Dances with Wolves" where our hero comes across a great expanse with bodies of buffalo scattered as far as the eye can see. (This was, of course, a depiction of our government policy of systematically killing hundreds of thousands of buffalo for the express purpose of genocide of the Indigenous population). His Indigenous friend makes a comment about how those who did this could not have had a soul. That was a time when we lost our soul as a nation. We are now at another such time. What can we do to get it back? I do not know. I sincerely hope that it is still possible. [4909]


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