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If I Had 1,000 Terrorists

“I would waterboard 1,000 terrorists to save one American life.”

That’s what the bumper sticker read on the Ford Bronco driving in front of me this afternoon. It was a compelling confession. I couldn’t help wondering if it were true.

Based on the other stickers the truck carried, I wondered if the driver of the Bronco would waterboard 1,000 terrorists to save one baby-killing abortionist even if he or she were American. I think the driver would have the same reservation about saving one gay American married to another gay American. In fact, I doubt he would waterboard anyone to save President Obama who is a straight American with two kids.

Interesting questions to ask the driver at a stop light, but given the fact that waterboarding doesn’t result in good intelligence, does it really make sense to imagine that waterboarding 1,000 terrorists would save even one American life? I suspect the driver would really want his sticker to read: “I’d waterboard 1,000 terrorists just for the freaking hell of it.”

I guess that’s why I don’t drive a Ford Bronco: I wouldn’t waterboard anybody.

If for some reason I did have 1,000 terrorists on hand, I’d put them in prison rather than waste time and water on waterboarding them.

Where would one get 1,000 terrorists anyway? I don’t think we have that many on hand. And if we did, why give them to someone, especially someone who drives a Ford Bronco?

Of course if I did have 1,000 terrorists, I imagine the government would think I was a terrorist mastermind and come after me. So I’d either refuse the delivery of 1,000 terrorists or call the authorities once I had them. I’d call them even if I had only 999 terrorists. Or even 998. In fact, if I had only one terrorist I would turn him or her over to the authorities. I just don’t want them around.

I had the opportunity of pulling up next to the Ford Bronco and asking the driver if he plans on getting his hands on 1,000 terrorists, but when I looked into the front seat, the driver had that “I have no sense of humor and I will kill you for being a smart ass” look, so I just let him get ahead of me when the light turned green.


Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. In the print version of our magazine, he has an advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addressing reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art. Rabbi Rami hosts our podcast, “Essential Conversations.”

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