I recently watched Amazon’s “The Report.” While Adam Driver’s portrayal of Senate Select Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel Jones is nothing short of compelling, what really stuck with me from the movie was utter shame in my home country.

The film details the extensive FBI investigation of CIA torture methods forced on suspected terrorists within black sites, beginning in 2002. After personally researching the cruel treatment used, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, sodomy, hypothermia and isolation, I found myself sobbing in front of my laptop. In other words, I cried for suspected terrorists.

What caused my response? Perhaps it’s my differing outlook on and relationship with foreign threats than the preceding generation. As a 20-year-old American who was barely a toddler during the 9/11 attacks, I simply don’t feel the same passion for national security that I’m sure my elder counterparts do.

Whether my visceral response can be chalked up to my youth or Amazon’s production skills, this moral dilemma poses a delicate rift in public opinion on human rights. I now feel conflicted between pride in my nationality and commiseration with these prisoners (not to mention frustration in what little information is even available on the matter).

I hate terrorism. But I also hate torture. I’d like to think I needn’t choose one or the other.

Helen Ruhlin


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