Thursday, December 11, 2014

John Kiriakou: American Hero

image via: Facebook

Our nation's "war on terror" is a sick joke. Our leaders' worldview is so narrow, they only think in terms of "good guys versus bad guys". Some of the biggest heroes during times of war are the ones who speak out against it. Men like John Kiriakou, who faced imprisonment after exposing the truth about the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques". For years our nation's torture program went on while leaders averted their eyes and hoped some useful information would come from it that could help us fight the bad guys.

Instead, we found out more about ourselves. Torturing our enemies does indeed expose who the bad guys are. The waterboarder, not the waterboardee. The asshole who administers the hummus enema, not the asshole receiving it. The agent putting a diaper on a grown man and chaining him to the ceiling, not the grown man soiling himself while in chains.

"In one note from the report, President Bush is troubled by the sight of a man chained to the ceiling, wearing a diaper, and soiling himself. Surely Bush wasn't the only one to see the picture and recoil. But it didn't matter. The machine kept turning."

We cannot fight terror with terror. Another imprisoned man once said it well:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

How the hell do we find love during these dark times? How can I feel proud of this great nation when I know my tax dollars pay a torturer's salary? It's enough to make me want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

But I won't. I can't. I'm a parent. I can't leave this world in shambles for our daughter. I must try to focus on raising our daughter to be a righteous human who understands the complexity of her fellow human beings. Who realizes we are more than just good guys and bad guys. That yes, we humans tend to have a sheep mentality and follow orders we should protest. We focus on the enemy's wrongdoings instead of our own. We lock up people who are exposing truths we're afraid to hear. But we humans are capable of much more. There are always helpers in the crowd, even if it's hard to see them. That is what I choose to focus on.

image source

I hope Kiriakou's children see how much he has helped our nation.

As a people we tend to view prisoners as the lowest members of society. Criminals. Scum. If we bother to think of them at all. But many heroes end up behind bars for doing the right thing. I hope Kiriakou's children feel proud of their father. I hope they see him as the American hero he is.