The Common Good

'Devils and Dust': How We Learned to Torture

In The New York Times story about the administration's secret
authorization of torture, one sentence is particularly chilling: "With
virtually no experience in interrogations, the CIA had constructed
its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi
intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long
used in training American servicemen to withstand capture."

Copying tactics used by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the former Soviet
Union ... what does this say about our nation's trajectory? Since
reading those words last week, I can't keep Bruce Springsteen's song
out of my head. First, he echoes what many
Americans might say in response to the secret authorization of
torture:

Well I've got God on my side

And I'm just trying to survive.

But then he raises this question:

What if what you do to survive

Kills the things you love?

Springsteen then concludes:

Fear's a dangerous thing.

It can turn your heart black you can trust.

It'll take your God-filled soul

Fill it with devils and dust.

Springsteen's words have me praying for
our nation today: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have
mercy.

Brian McLaren's new book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, was released last Tuesday.

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