Reading the papers as the ugly redacted CIA documents spill out, with more to come as the DOJ begins its investigations of the Bush Administration’s torture program, a recurring question keeps rattling through my brain:
The torture program is now coming into focus as one that is less and less something coming out of some “rogue elements” running amok and more and more something that a bunch of chicken-hawk, frat boy, Jack Bauer “24” wannabes wet-dreamed up in their cool offices, egging each other on in a circle-jerk of psychosexual frisson as far removed from the real world as pimple-faced teenaged boys laying on their bunk beds and dreaming about hot dates with Top Runway models. Or our Vietnam-avoiding, military-service avoiding, chicken hawk, Darth Vader wannabe VP Cheney macho-snarling about going to the dark side. Or our true Frat Boy, cod-piece strutting, land-on-a-carrier for a swaggering photo-op, “bring ‘em on,” President.
Toss in the almost Nazi Dr. Mengele-like attention to detail [“how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso-or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment.”] and what emerges veers off into the weirdly psycho-sick.
And so, the question haunts: If the men running our country had all seen military service, or actually served in combat, or even served some hard time in a real-world, hard-knocks reality, been less awash with juvenile psycho-sexual sadistic frat boy fantasies, would they have been less scared, less. . . . hysterical . . . after 9/11, and so less prone to mistake a TV show – “24” – for “reality, less prone to admire and emulate a fictional hero – Jack Bauer – and so better able to cope as battle-hardened, experienced, grounded, cool eyed adults?
Perhaps the DOJ’s investigation or a Congressional “truth squad” will answer that question, but somehow I doubt it.