Redefining ‘torture’

Paul Hair Contributor
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I often hear those on the right say that the left has stolen the language and that we must take it back. Yet I really don’t see or hear this occurring. In fact, I don’t really think the right is serious about taking back the language. If it were, would conservatives continue using terms like “African-American” and “xenophobia”?

But I suppose the act of reclaiming the language has to start somewhere and so I suggest reclaiming the word “torture.”

The American Spectator recently published an article by Mark Tooley entitled “Still Tortured Evangelicals.” The entire piece details how the so-called Christian left continues attacking America for “torturing” terrorists and other thugs. But I guess the part that really struck me was when Tooley wrote (bold emphasis mine):

Duke University’s seminary is hosting an anti-torture conference (“Toward a Moral Consensus Against Torture: A Gathering of Students, Clergy, People of Conscience, and People of Faith”) later this month, prompting one seminarian recently to blog: “To the extent that American Christians continue allowing their government to torture — motivated by ever-growing fears and the demands of feeling secure — they must also recognize they no longer stand with Jesus in the world.”

That’s it. The left perverts and redefines everything. And as a Christian that last part significantly irritated me. Protecting the lives of innocent people is not “torture.” It’s the right thing to do. Tooley suggests some refutations to leftists attempting to twist the Bible to their side. I could offer my theological refutations as well but I instead want to focus on retaking the language and restoring the true definition of the word “torture.”

I could end this discussion simply by mentioning one word: abortion. The left has promoted this for decades and thus is responsible for the torture and murders of millions of babies. What’s that you say? Calling abortion “murder” is debatable? Very well. But then I say that what constitutes “torturing” an adult is debatable. And perhaps it’s even debatable whether terrorists are human, and thus cannot be tortured no matter what is done to them. And so we could end the conversation right here.

But we don’t have to do that. Let’s look at other forms of torture that the left supports.

The left supports the torture of the everyday American by saying that terrorists cannot be interrogated and aggressively prosecuted, thus leaving Americans fearful that we may be the next to be horrifically murdered.

The left supports the torture of American servicemen by requiring idiotic rules of engagement that prevent the U.S. from forcefully prosecuting a war and instead has it engaged in nation-building and “winning hearts and minds.”

Leftists support the torture of millions of people across the world by keeping DDT banned due to a fanatical adherence to their environmentalist religion. This torturous practice results in millions of people suffering and dying from malaria each year.

The left supports the torture of everyday Americans by regularly siding with criminals and advocating for reduced sentences, more privileges, and sympathy or absolution for criminals who “are victims of society.” This tortures the true victims by denying them justice. It also tortures society by allowing criminals to become heroes and even gain early release so they can rape, murder, pillage, and plunder some more.

Leftists also support the torture of the everyday American through their stranglehold on society, demanding that wealth be stolen from one person and given to another one. We now live in constant fear — perpetual torture — of losing what we rightfully earn to the leftist taxing us and holding the governmental gun, all the while he smiles and tells us we should thank him for giving our money to the “rightful owner.” And with the mess they caused in Wisconsin, leftists have shown that they will resort to violence against the government when they don’t wield complete control over it. Now all Americans have to live constantly looking over our shoulders, tortured with not knowing if we will be the next people the left accuses and assaults over some imaginary wrong.

So it’s the left that tortures, not those of us on the right. And because the left is always guilty to a worse degree of the very same crimes they accuse their enemies of, I have to wonder what other activities leftists are engaged in right now and what else they will do to the average American once they seize complete and total power.

Hmmm. Maybe I’m not at odds with the left on all things after all. Maybe I can be “bipartisan” (I hear that’s all the rage these days) and agree that America is guilty of torturing — only it’s the left that is guilty of it.

Therefore, if the left wants to rage against America being a torturer, I can actually agree with that now that we’ve restored the proper definition of the word “torture,” and now that we understand that it is the left that is guilty of it. The only question that remains is: What’s the left going to do to atone for this terrible sin that it regularly commits?

Paul Hair serves in the U.S. Army Reserve as a non-commissioned officer. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and wrote or contributed to approximately 50 reports and assessments while in Iraq on an eight-month deployment during 2009-2010. He has worked as a civilian in both the government and private sectors. His views are his own and he in no way represents the Army Reserve or any other part of the U.S. government.