When the suicide letter of a reluctant torturer evokes sympathy, maybe it's time to rethink the whole "enhanced interrogation thing."
America, The Torturer. America, The Tortured by Google Images w/caption by Rev Dan
A suicide note is a torture to read: it makes the reader experience the anguish of a tormented soul, all the while punctuating the fact that the pain was infinitely more unbearable than can be imagined. Daniel Somers, however, wrote a riveting denouement to his life because he was tormented by the fact that he was, in fact, a killer and a torturer.
"The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term."
Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was assigned to intelligence units (Task Force Lightening), accomplished 400 missions in combat (machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee), and ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. He was ordered to use advanced intelligence techniques for three years. He was later diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and acute PTSD. He took his life on June 10, 2013.
Daniel Somers was 30 years old.
"All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing."
Simply acute PTSD? Or the curse every mortal person is born with: a conscience?
During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.
Many veterans with PTSD blame the government, and Daniel was no exception:
"To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them."
Bush, Cheney, and even Obama, were portrayed as operators of a "system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference." But the most virulent diatribe is left for his own conscience, a conscience that purveyors of war discount, a conscience that is not, in fact, allowed.
"The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so."
Torturing The Torturer
There are not many who would not enjoy putting to the rack the infamous Thomas de Torquemada (Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition), but our own system of neglect, beatification of patriotic suffering (oh so courageous) and failed desensitization to the horrors of war is far more torturous than the rack. And far more extreme, since Somers tried to fight the powers that be about "enhanced interrogation."
The entire text of Somers' letter is HERE.
"Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out--and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it."
Daniel Somers, please, please rest in peace.
The following is a Huffington Post (Live) interview with a former Guantanamo guard about his reaction to the torture scenes in the film "Zero Dark Thirty."
Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books " Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most interesting people of our time: Steve Allen, William F. Buckley, Alan Ginsburg, Armisted Maupin, Anne Rice, Grace Slick, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Patricia Nell Warren, and Betty White.
He is also an ordained minister in the ULC and has studied extensively on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality. Additional articles can be read on his blog, The Devil and Dan Vojir.
Future goals and activities: a new ministry focusing on reaching personal spiritual levels without the outside influence of proselytism or evangelism called The Church of the Inner Preacher. This ministry will be included in a new website The Devil and Dan Vojir.
Vojir's main goal: to root out hypocrisy in religion and politics. "If only one person is saved from being killed or bashed by inane bigotry, then I'll have accomplished what I was put on earth to do: To Live and Help Live."