There is no doubt that America, and the world, are changing the way things are done. Oil prices approaching $100 a barrel is part of the reason, but the concerns about availability of water and the potential for climate change are also foremost on consumer’s-and Government’s-minds.
The solution has been to “green up” in a thousand ways-everything from compact fluorescent lamps to “toilet bricks” have been offered as solutions; and they are becoming more and more an accepted part of our daily lives-and our future.
With that in mind, I come before you today to offer some ideas that can help “green up” an often overlooked area of Government operations-torture.
And why not?
Consider that “extraordinary rendition” alone has an enormous carbon footprint that is ripe to be reduced and you have some conception of the scope of the problem.
So let’s talk solutions.
For starters, there’s lots of “baby steps” we can take that would get us on the right track, and “waterboarding” offers a perfect example.
By now we have all seen the images of “Men In Black” pouring water over the face of the torture victim...but left unanswered is the question of where that water goes after it drains. For many years now, car washes in the US have moved to recycle their water through a system of drains and recirculating pumps, and I’m here to propose the military and other “associated entities” consider such an approach in their own work.
Of course, the naysayers amongst you will point out that oftentimes torture must be conducted under “field conditions”; but I would reply that there’s no reason not to think greener-and there’s no reason why the waterboard can’t be placed over a collection barrel and the water reused.
After all, we do want to show the world we care.
Another energy-intensive aspect to torture is the application of electricity in uncomfortable ways in an effort to extract information. This is another area where we can easily reduce the carbon footprint through simple means.
For starters, let’s change the “Nazi Interrogation Lamp” that always shines in the victim’s face to a “Fluorescent Interrogation Lamp”. With the advent of fluorescent replacements for the incandescent PAR 38 lamps, there’s no excuse for using the old technology anymore-and we reduce electricity usage by a quick 90%.
And the same is true with the old “car battery attached to the mattress” technique and its variants, which generally involve attaching jumper cables to various body parts. Surely we can improve on this inefficient means of providing field power. Why not move to solar, or wind energy?
The technology is already there, just waiting to be applied. The military already uses solar panels for powering up some field equipment...as do many others, including the Nation’s highway administrators, who have found them very useful in powering remote call boxes and other roadside infrastructure.
But let’s get out-of-the-box here: why not improve the efficiency of the entire torture process at the same time as we reduce its carbon impact? Couldn’t we, for example, put a second victim on a bicycle generator, blindfold them...and in a variation on the movie “Speed” tell them that they’ll be killed if their speed drops below the minimum needed to generate the amperage required to “impress” the first victim?
Of course, the biggest carbon waster of all is the process of “extraordinary rendition”. Moving a single individual to a foreign country for torture often involves unmarked aircraft of substantial size, a “transport team” that must be sustained, and a foreign destination facility that must be kept “powered up” as well.
I considered a number of options to resolve these problems, including a sort of “Con Air” approach that would put more of the victims on the same flights...but in the end I’ve become convinced the only real solution is to create a sort of “Hollywood enhanced” prop aircraft and “foreign” torture facility right here in the good old USA. This allows us to offer a realistic experience of rendition without the annoying burden of dumping soot into the atmosphere-and it saves the taxpayer a ton on per diem costs that would otherwise be going to support bars, hookers, and restaurants in foreign economies.
Colocation seems to be the key to this approach, and we have available facilities from Fort Meade, Maryland, to Groom Lake, Nevada, and points in between...including a certain hollowed out mountain that would be a perfect site if we want to increase the supervisory opportunities for our unofficial Secretary of Torture, Dick Cheney.
Not all the news is bad, of course. The holding facility at Guantanamo is a perfect example of a “green” prison-virtually no money spent on heating or cooling, and the “roach hotel” aspect to the facility’s management (“terrorists” check in, but they usually don’t check out) helps to keep down the “rendition impact” of the facility on the environment now and in the future.
Which brings us to the end of today’s story...and to the beginning of a new paradigm...a sort of “Jack Bauer meets Walden Pond” approach to torture that is, admittedly, morally reprehensible-but much more environmentally responsible.
Because, when it’s all said and done, the future will be green.