‘Burn Notice’ Poses Uncomfortable Questions About Torture

Has it happened? Have we finally gotten there? Has the final season of Burn Notice revealed the last bad guy that Michael Westen will need to take down?

Beats me. But in all likelihood, the answer to the questions is yes. And what a doozy of a meeting it was.

Michael is no stranger to various forms of torture, but his experience at the hands of James, the leader of Sonya's group, and his men was quite brutal: sleep deprivation, constant blaring sirens, and being pumped full of truth inducing drugs are just a sampling. Honestly, it was enough to make one question what type of people would inflict such torment on another human being. In the show, it was the bad guys torturing the hero, but if I am revolted by torture when the bad guys do it, should I feel any differently when it is the good guys using torture? Even if it is to save lives?

I don't claim to know what the United States does at black sites, nor am I an ethicist, but if something like the dramatization that I witnessed last night is being done by the United States, then we must question what we are doing. Yes, the government has a responsibility to keep its people safe, but at what cost? Are we really willing to secure some increased, but indefinable, amount of safety at the costs of our souls?

It's a tough question and one that, thankfully, “Burn Notice” did not attempt to answer. When shows preach, they tend to become unwatchable. (I'm looking at you, “The Newsroom!”) But that doesn't mean we shouldn't think about this question.