Monday, May 10, 2004
Dear Randy Cohen,
I'm writing to you today because I've got a pickle of a moral conundrum
that I thought would be perfect for the Ethicist. I'm a U.S. reservist
currently stationed in Baghdad. As you're no doubt aware, the fog of
war raises all kinds of ethical dilemmas, and having one's life on the
line forces one to operate in many moral grey zones. Nevertheless, I
like to think I've stuck to an upstanding moral code that would befit
an American representing his country.
Recently, I was transferred to overseeing detainees at an Iraqi prison.
Here's the problem: I would like to rape and torture them
indiscriminately. I don't feel this behavior presents a moral problem,
since, as Senator Lieberman and the Chicago Sun Time's cartoon page
agree, the 9/11 attacks are worse. However, one of my colleagues feels
that in some ways rape is still immoral even after 9/11.
I told her it seemed as thought she was really splitting hairs. I mean,
9/11 is worse than prison abuse so any moral distinctions after that is
like asking how many angels can stand on head of a pin. Still, since
we've been abusing the fuck out of them lately the question has come up
a lot and we hoped you could settle it for us.
Brad from Baghdad