I was watching a report on the release of the CIA notes re: the treatment of terrorists during the Bush administration tonight and it made me angry. Those who protest the disagreeable treatment of terrorists or suspected terrorists in the course of their questioning seem to feel that not only are these people entitled to the rights of an American citizen, a position I happen to disagree with but which is a topic for another post and probably a different blog, but that this interrogation should not be more than uncomfortable for the interrogatee. First of all, I don't think that torture is terribly effective in gaining accurate intel but it makes me angry when people think that it is such a violation of somebody's human rights to deprive them of sleep, to cause them significant pain, to physically assault them, to subject them to a situation where they feel they can't breathe, are subjected to uncomfortable environmental conditions or to place them in a situation where they can't think. If being subjected to these things is truly a violation of one's human rights then my human rights are being violated by the very entity that Thomas Jefferson declared gave me those rights and the medical establishment, government and society that does not aid in my release from this situation.
What the heck am I talking about? The fact that most nights I spend at least a half hour feeling like my body is being subjected alternately to the strains of the rack and strappado, that I frequently wake up with painfully black and blue legs, that often when I try to relax I am subjected to muscle spasms including ones which seize up my breathing for as much as 10 seconds causing the same panic as someone who feels like they are drowning (BTW, waterboarding protocols specified no more than 40 seconds), that my perception of temperature and smell has been affected to the point that I am often freezing or sweltering at temperatures which are comfortable for most people and I perceive many odors much more acutely than most people, that often I suffer from significant fatigue and insomnia and anything that is strong enough to knock me out and allows me to get real rest leaves me hung over, that it is often agony to move or stay in position and I almost continuously am in pain. True, there are homeopathic and pharmecutical treatments that address many of these situations but because of the cost of healthcare in this country I don't have access to the diagnostic procedures that would direct me to the proper course of treatment and I can afford only so many $70+ prescriptions a month; the cost of homeopathic treatment is little better. That isn't even taking into account the side effects; I happen to value my ability to be a reasonable facsimilie of a thinking person and most of the drugs that are strong enough to alleviate the pain, allow me to sleep, quiet the spasms etc. rob me of that and I tend to be more violent when sleeping deeply albeit less aware of it.
Unlike those the government has subjected to 'torture', I, and many who suffer with medical conditions, have not done anything to remotely justify this treatment. I often ironically make the comment that it's a good thing that I am something of a masochist. In fact, being a bottom in a BDSM scene is easier since there is a point under a decent top where the pain can transport you to an elsewhere that has it's benefits and you have the comfort of the knowledge that 1) you made an active choice that led to this torturous situation and 2) there will be a release from the torture, a reassurance that I am sure the terrorists in US custody enjoy that I and many others do not. Somehow I have a hard time feeling a whole lot of sympathy for the terrorists the US has tortured in the interest of alleged national security. When somebody starts being as concerned about the human rights of those of us who are tortured on a daily basis as they are of those who are detained by a government then I will feel as if there is a true interest in justice and not just causes. OTOH, the fight against torture has to start somewhere.