Debate: Advanced Interrogation Techniques

When Gina Haspel was nominated to become the next CIA Director there was a lot of controversy regarding her time running a black site in Thailand. Part of that controversy was the use of “Advanced Interrogation Techniques” (aka torture) on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Whenever this topic is brought up the argument for the use of these techniques is that the people carrying them out were only doing so in the interest of U.S. security and to protect the lives of all of its citizens. This part is important to remember for the purpose of this debate.

From my understanding there is more scientific research showing that these techniques do not yield great results and generally provide inaccurate information. Someone under duress will usually say anything they think someone wants to hear to make it stop. And since there is very few instances where you can fact check in real time how can you know in the moment if someone is telling the truth?

I don’t condone these techniques but I do love playing Devil’s Advocate.

There are many people who are genuinely (and rightfully so) outraged that the United States engaged in these activities. But what happens when we move it to a more personal level? If these techniques were used to protect the lives of U.S. citizens then how far would you go to protect a loved one?

If your child was abducted would you result to violence to get the answer to where they were? Or your spouse or your siblings or your parents? How far would you go to get the information that could prevent someone you loved from dying if someone had that information and wouldn’t part with it?

And why are we ok with watching this type of scenario (“Taken” amongst many others) but not someone being tortured in a movie or on television? We cheer for one and feel uncomfortable with the other.

I don’t believe that torturing someone is the correct answer and I don’t even have a good answer to the questions I’m proposing. I’ve never been (and hopefully will never be) in that kind of situation. I do think we need to look at ourselves before we judge others though. It is easy to be hypocritical when we never have to make the same choices as someone else.

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“Someone three rows ahead of me is wearing the same shirt with the martini glasses on it. I believe I’m wearing it better.”

I texted that yesterday during my morning commute.

I was wearing a white short sleeved shirt with little black martini glasses which each had a small teal colored olive in it. I combined it with a pair of teal colored pants which matched the olives perfectly and a pair black shoes. The other gentleman was taller than I am and the shirt didn’t fit as well (it was baggy around the waist). He also had ill fitting khakis and brown shoes which were not horrible but not my style.

I still stand behind the fact that I was wearing it better.

I got off the train, jumped on my bike and got not even a block away before my right pedal clipped a plastic barricade throwing the bike off balance and sending me down hard into the pavement (bike and rider are both fine although the rider has a scrapped up knee and a nice gash on his leg). The martini shirt ended up with dirt all over it and the perfectly matched (in my opinion) pants may not recover from the fall.

Now who was wearing it better?

Later I questioned whether or not I had actually clipped the barricade or if karma decided to smacked me off the bike for being vain and judgmental. Until the wounds heal I’ll have reminders to try to be a bit better about that.

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I think Duolingo just mansplained the answer to me.

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Passive Aggressive Deflection

I’m thinking about buying a small elephant statue so if anyone ever wants to discuss the elephant in the room I can start by saying I bought it on Amazon.

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A Perspective: Boredom

I’ve come to realize the majority of times that I am truly bored is when I am with other people.
When I am by myself I can always find a project to work on or a book to read or painting to paint or a guitar to play. When I am with other people I feel there is an obligation to do something of equal interest to all parties. I would say that the times I feel the most alone and bored is when I’m with a group of people who are all sharing an experience that I have no interest in at all.
That’s not to say that I prefer being alone but rather sometimes I can appreciate and embrace solitude and be the most happy in those moments.

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Pros and Cons

The great thing about painting one wall of you studio as a chalkboard is you can use it to write your to-do list.

The bad thing is that to-do list is staring you in the face everyday taunting you to erase things off.

Today I finally erased one thing off that had been there for a while.

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Black Mirror

On the train this morning a woman sitting across from me was on her phone. She was sitting on the east side of the train and the morning sun was reflecting off her screen right into my eyes as I was trying to write. I politely pointed out that she was blinding me.

She looked at her phone, then at the sun and then back at her phone.

Confused she proclaimed that she didn’t know what she was supposed to do, got up and changed seats to a few rows back.

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