The Green Light | Politics | Vanity Fair
Americans, it’s awfully disturbing when your politicians are turning to a television show as an argument on how to run your country.
“During September a series of brainstorming meetings were held at Guantánamo to discuss new techniques. Some of the meetings were led by Beaver. “I kept minutes. I got everyone together. I invited. I facilitated,” she told me. The sessions included representatives of the D.I.A. and the C.I.A. Ideas came from all over. Some derived from personal training experiences, including a military program known as SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape), designed to help soldiers persevere in the event of capture. Had SERE been, in effect, reverse-engineered to provide some of the 18 techniques? Both Dunlavey and Beaver told me that sere provided inspiration, contradicting the administration’s denials that it had. Indeed, several Guantánamo personnel, including a psychologist and a psychiatrist, traveled to Fort Bragg, SERE’s home, for a briefing.
Ideas arose from other sources. The first year of Fox TV’s dramatic series 24 came to a conclusion in spring 2002, and the second year of the series began that fall. An inescapable message of the program is that torture works. “We saw it on cable,” Beaver recalled. “People had already seen the first series. It was hugely popular.” Jack Bauer had many friends at Guantánamo, Beaver added. “He gave people lots of ideas.”
The brainstorming meetings inspired animated discussion. “Who has the glassy eyes?,” Beaver asked herself as she surveyed the men around the room, 30 or more of them. She was invariably the only woman present — as she saw it, keeping control of the boys. The younger men would get particularly agitated, excited even. “You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas,” Beaver recalled, a wan smile flickering on her face. “And I said to myself, You know what? I don’t have a dick to get hard — I can stay detached.”