Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Peace and Love and all that.

One thing about me: I am an idealist. I see the world how it could be, how it should be. I think the person who is not an idealist is perhaps a realist and sees the world exactly how it is.

Therefore, many of my viewpoints reflect my idealistic tendencies. I have been called to the table on it recently and I want to discuss it.

The current subject under discussion is torture. Should the United States tolerate or partipate in waterboarding or other forms of torture to extract information from detainees? The argument for torture is that we should be able to do whatever necessary to ensure the safety of the United States.

My arguments against torture are threefold: 1. It's illegal; 2. It's immoral (see Matthew 5:38-48); and 3. There is no proof that it works.

In my idealistic world, there would be no need for torture, because there would be no war. I get that is not realistic. I know there is war and I know there are gray areas associated with war. But I cannot weaken my resolve on this. I can't accept that it's okay, under any circumstance, to purposefully hurt another human being. Regardless of their actions. As hard as it is to "love our enemies," isn't this as bad as it will get? Are not our enemies those who try to hurt us? Are they not the ones we are to love the most?

And I know, most of all, that this is complicated most for those in armed services. They are paid to protect us and I mean no disrespect to them.

I'm not sure why I chose to blog about this subject. It is, like everything here in Bits and Pieces, open for discussion. It is also, like everthing here, a view into my world and my opinion. I feel strongly that each human being in the entire world is God's child, and we need to treat each other kindly and with respect.

Peace and love and all that. :)


Elizabeth said...

yeah, I'm with you ..

but I am also a pacifist, LOL.

sorry .. we're all divine beings, children of God, can't really get around that one. and somehow I just can't see how torture = love. :)

Julie said...

Thanks, Leanne. I do love the occassional strong topic! It helps us all grow and challenge ourselves. :)

I was talking about this with Laura the other day and she brought up the fact that as human beings, we aren't wired to torture other living things. How do we seperate ourselves from that situation if we're in it? Although this waterboarding stuff doesn't settle too well with me anyway, I had never thought about how it mentally affects the men and women who's job it is to administer it in the first place.

Although I'm definitely more of an idealist than realist (just ask my husband!), I still don't know where the line is. Is it torture to make someone stand for long periods of time? It is tiring them but it's not a physical injury and they know they aren't going to die. Is that still considered torture? Who decides that? I don't have any helpful answers or ideas.

Torturing, in my opinion, is not right. On the other hand, I feel compassion and respect towards the leaders of our country and the enormous responsibility that they feel to keep our country safe. At the end of the day, I believe that is why they've made some of those difficult, questionable decisions.


Leanne said...

Libby - are you a pacifist in that you think we should abolish our military or that we should settle all conflicts peacefully?

Julie - good thoughts. I don't envy those in positions of power who have to make those decisions. I guess the world turns because there are all kinds of us, right?

Also, there is a definite line between "field activity" when a soldier actually *captures* someone vs. someone who is already being held captive in a detention center. I can make some concession for testosterone and adrenaline in that case, I think. (Not excuse, concession.)

Laura Jean said...

I have NO clue if I'm an idealist or a realist. I don't want war. I don't want torture, which, for the record, I do not believe in. I do not want our soldiers to see combat or torture. But I do appreciate our soldiers keeping us safe. -SIGH- Can't we all just love one another???

sis amy said...

"Come on Everybody, Lets all love one another-right now" or something like that in a song. I believe in war there is a TON of gray area. I do not ever want there to be anyone tortured but choose to believe that I am an idealist by heart but a realist by mind....Thus the gray. Being I do not live "in" war, I am continually thankful for those who are willing to make the sacrifices needed to allow me to enjoy the freedoms I so enjoy. As Julie commented we're not wired to torture but there will always be those people brought up with the mind frame to hate and torture others. How to stop that? I see all your points and also agree with them but there is not an even black and white playing field when dealing with evil.....

Elizabeth torture=love is not equvilant. Too bad all people don't love. Too bad there is hate:(

Julie-I am with you on the question as to what is torture and who decides. Glad it's not up to me. I can't even get my kids to hug when they get real mad at each other. And I know they love each other:P

Elizabeth said...

my intent wasn't to compare torture and love. my intent was to say that torturing someone is not showing them love. and if we're supposed to love our enemies, how is torturing them loving them. now if it said, "love people unless they don't love you", then I might have a different opinion. :)

all people love. and all people hate. it's human nature. it's just that we are choosing when hatred is ok and when it's not. e.g. it's ok if you hate but don't act on it, but it's not ok if you act on it. or the ok-ness of it depends on how much pain it causes. or it's ok if we hate you because we only hate you because you hate us - and if you didn't hate us, we wouldn't hate you. if you read up on "thou shalt not kill", there are many who believe that hateful thoughts are equivalent to murder. in which case we all murder people daily. it's just a different perspective ..

you can't stop murder by murdering. just like torturing someone is not going to convince them to stop torturing us. it only cements their belief in the rightness of their position (think about political discussions, LOL, and you'll see what I mean) and is a very good way to further their cause. in the end, I do not see how there is any way to peace but peace. and I also think that if you can see the divine nature in everyone, it is very hard to hate them or torture them or .. regardless of their thoughts about you. divine nature isn't conditional on behavior.

however .. I get that everyone has different opinions and I don't have any particular interest in convincing people to think the way that I do ..

Anonymous said...

I agree with your thoughts. Being an idealist myself, it is hard to understand why anyone would want to hurt another human being. as Laura said, can't we all just love one another?!

However, there are people out there who are raised to hate others or have imbalances they cannot control that cause them to want to inflict pain on others. In order for these people to be restrained, some of us "good" people (don't know if that's an appropriate term, but you know what I mean) have no option but to use some type of force to contain their actions.

This does NOT mean that I believe in torture. I think it is very necessary for every country to have a military or other security force to protect against those previously mentioned. And if these forces must inflict physical harm in order to protect the people as a whole, I fully support it.

However, once in captivity, I believe torturing someone to hopefully elicit information is very, very WRONG!! I also wonder how someone could torture another human being and be normal themselves...

andy said...

Rah, Leanne. Rah. :)

Amy said...

I read an interesting article on the recent interrogation/torture practices of the US - the methods originated out of military training (SERE) to prepare troops for enemy capture... Interesting. Also, the Bush administration was warned that the interrogation practices did not provide reliable information.

But, in regards to torture in general.. I think it is wrong. Always. I don't think the end justifies the means. And if high-ranking officials feel that they can justify its use, then they should be the ones to have to administer the techniques. See what it does to their psyche, and all of that.

Laura Jean said...

In response to Amy's, comment: I heard first-hand from someone who recently went through SERE training. He said it was unbelievable. They got de-briefed daily by psychiatrists- even after the training was over. This is a level-headed guy, and he was open about how messed up it made him- he heard and saw things even once he was finished. Scary stuff- I hope to God he doesn't have to face any of that past training!

And I completely agree, if someone is authorizing torture, they should be administering it.

My word verification is peedi- and I have to pee...