Further thoughts on the Bush administration's torture memos, about a month too late for anyone to really care about, from someone who may sound a bit like Peggy Noonan but who is certainly not intended to represent Peggy Noonan, from a legal perspective, if you catch my drift
“Some of life has to be mysterious, and -- that’s not the right word, but you know what I mean. It’s not good to send out manuals to these people.” -- Peggy Noonan, on "This Week" in April, discussing the release of the torture memos.
I hear "Twin Peaks" was all downhill after they revealed who killed what's her name, the tramp. If I knew the meaning of the words when Andrea Bocelli sings “Con te partiro,” casting his signature spell of enchantment, would I still regard it as one of the great achievements in music?
And what’s the secret behind Stonehenge? Were the Egyptian pyramids really built by aliens? I'd prefer not to know.
I feel the same way about torture. Well, that's that the liberal media is calling it, anyway. I prefer to think of it as good men and women (but mostly men) valiantly working to keep us safe from unspeakable acts of terror, one belly slap at a time.
I don't want to know what happened in those interrogation rooms -- I just know I’m safer because of what took place in there. I do like to imagine it though.
The man who was in charge of interrogating Abu Zubaydah, was he dashing? Did he wear a rakish mustache? When he leaned over the table that separated him from his suspect, a cigarette dangling from his lips, his knuckles pressed against the Formica surface, did his triceps flex noticeably beneath his damp white oxford shirt? I like to think so.
As for the memos themselves, I don't plan to read them. From what I gathered during that shameful media frenzy, however, it doesn't sound bad at all.
Take waterboarding. Isn't that the new aquatic sport that was all the rage last summer on the Cape? And I can only infer from "wall-slamming" that they've equipped these luxurious detention facilities with the moshing pits the youths enjoy so well.
Still, I don't want to sully my mind with these details. American democracy is like a juicy chicken and sundried tomato sausage, nestled inside a toasted ciabatta roll. But I don't want to learn which parts of the chicken are in that sausage, and I’d prefer not to know about the harvesting of the ciabatta bush.
Without mystery, where would we be? I remember the moment when I learned that Santa Claus isn’t real. I looked at my ninth-grade biology lab partner, Doreen, and said, “Oh, much good will come of this.”
Do we really want to know why Mona Lisa was smiling? You might not like that painting so much if you discovered it's because she’d poisoned her husband, chopped him to pieces and buried his body in the vineyard.
And what of those moments of romantic ambiguity from our past? When Bobby Deckerman and I were squeezed tightly together that one night in college on a crowded trolley ride home from the sophomore dance, was that his whiskey flask that pressed against my hip, or was it his ding dong? I’ll probably never know, and that's okay by me.
I'll take a mystery any day. So if you want to find out what happened in those interrogation rooms, go ahead, but please don't talk to me about it. I must save my mind for more important things, like erotic fantasies involving Ronald Reagan.