This morning on WRKO Tom Finneran and Wendy Murphy were debating torture. Murphy's line was basically of this variety: Torture is done, it always has been done and, who are we kidding, we will do it in the future.
A Marine Major called into the show to say that he resented Wendy saying this because, in his experience, that is not the truth. (He actually said that he wanted to reach through the phone and throttle her.) Marines are not trained to torture and it doesn't happen all the time on the battlefield.
Wendy said that it does, of course, happen.
The Major countered with the key point in the discussion: (Paraphrasing, no transcript.) "That may be so, but then they are committing an illegal act, and I would have them arrested. It is illegal!"
To which, Wendy Murphy replied, (to the best of my memory,) "Oh come, on, illegal? It is done all the time. If you don't like it move to Cuba!"
That's right, folks. To a Marine Major, with almost two decades of service to the United States in uniform, Ms. Murphy's sentiment is that he can move to Cuba.
Tom Finneran rightly called her statement outrageous.
The Major rightly pointed out, (he got the last word,) he may not have to move to Cuba, because with talk like this the United States will eventually be the same thing.
It was one of the most shocking exchanges I have heard on talk radio with regards to torture. This Major seemed truly disturbed with what he was hearing from the callers and Ms. Murphy.
Tom Finneran is usually the first one to back down and qualify his positions when faced with an onslaught of callers and a guest opposing him, whether it be a liberal or conservative position being debated. (His political genetics have hard-wired him this way, possibly forever.) But up until this Major's call at least he was holding the line that this debate is "not academic."
Finneran was actually making a great point against the substance of the majority of the pro-torture callers. The major point, and the tone of their conversation, was "why are we even having this discussion?"
Finneran kept arguing with Murphy and the callers that without the DISCUSSION we are then in Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Castro's Cuba.
Right now, in Boston, we have three plays with men in uniform.
David Rabe's Streamers opens at the Huntington Theatre Company. Intimate and shocking, the play explores the violent impulses that extend through society, and how these impulses are magnified and anxieties are ratcheted up a notch when a civil society finds itself in armed conflict.
Veteran's Day is Sunday.
If you go to see Streamers at the Boston University Theater on Huntington Avenue this weekend, walk down to the front of the auditorium before the show or at intermission. Look from the first row back at the audience. (890 people)
Now, picture every person in every seat in a military uniform. And dead.
Then times that auditorium by 4 and one third. (3858 to date.)
Christopher Shinn's Dying City at the Lyric deals with the death of a soldier in Iraq, and the first part of The Kentucky Cycle at the Black Box at the Boston Center for the Arts, deals with the Civil War and, specifically, the guerilla tactics of William Quantrill and his Raiders.