Daily Archives: October 21, 2006

A Plan to End Torture

In thinking about the recent Military Commissions Act, I’ve been banging my head against the wall, trying to come up with a plan of action.

I considered protest, massive student protests, but they’re anathema to my character as a conservative and I wondered if they’d really have an effect. As I write more for Principles of Agitation, I realize that real, concrete actions have to be taken, and a light must be shone so people know that there are real problems.

Civil disobedience is out of the picture, however, unless you want to try to plot a terrorist attack and bring up a case before the Supreme Court. Alternatively, see how popular you are when you try to defend the rights of a terrorist.

No, I’ve finally realized a better plan. First, however, I must explain a hypothetical I like to call, “The Ticking Time Bomb Gone Wrong.”

In the Ticking Time Bomb Gone Wrong scenario, we open with the typical Ticking Time Bomb scenario. A bomb of some sort is about to go off somewhere. We have a someone we suspect has information about this bomb. The characters in the scenario decide to torture this person to get information. Whilst they go about the torture, the real culprit goes free, unnoticed, except by one plucky investigator. To make the scenario even better, make sure the tortured person is a horrible person, maybe even involved in the plot, but does not know where the bomb is located. The information they get from torture leads them to the wrong place, and/or the wrong person. Meanwhile, the plucky investigator is trying to get their attention about who the real person is, but they don’t listen because they think the information they got from torture is right. The bomb goes off, and there are massive casualties. The authorities have failed because they relied on torture.

If my scenario sounds highly improbable and kind of like a movie or TV plot, you’re exactly right. That’s the point.

My plan involves getting the media to buy into this story. To make this scenario the subject of a TV show. To get a movie to use this story. To convince people that torture doesn’t work.

Or maybe, with our savvy youth media skills, make this catch fire on YouTube or MySpace videos. To make this the subject of a rap song. Essays. Stories. Novels. Newspaper articles. Weblog entries. Anything and everything.

The power of the Ticking Time Bomb Gone Wrong scenario is that it goes one step further than saying torture is merely ineffective, it says that torture actually weakens our ability to fight terror. It does so in a simplistic fashion that most people can understand. I’m sure it has the emotional power to convince people. It is an effective counter to the torture-apologists’ propaganda, especially in its ability to reach the common person.

Will it motivate them to action? Maybe not. But this is but the first step, and I think an important one. Torture only has this strut to stand upon. If we take it away, support will wither, and we can mount an organized attack.

For now, I throw these thoughts out into the void, but I will expand the Ticking Time Bomb Gone Wrong plot, maybe even write up a script, or find someone to write a script. I will try to find my own crew to make a short film, or I will try to find connections to someone, anyone to do it. I will try to find a way to publicize this story.

Maybe I can hold a competition of some sort, with monetary compensation for the winner.

Are there any people out there willing to turn the Ticking Time Bomb Gone Wrong into a film (or other type of) reality?

Lloyd, surely you know some creative minds out there.

EDIT: An interesting plot twist could be to have the real perpetrators be Sunni and the tortured ones be Shiite, or vice versa. Of course, the torturers have no idea what the difference between the two groups are.

EDIT: As always, critiques of my plan are welcomed. However, if you’re here to criticize the Ticking Time Bomb Gone Wrong scenario, stop. It’s just as improbable as the Ticking Time Bomb scenario itself, but unfortunately, most people don’t realize that.