21 May 2004


Roy Orbison was a great artist, and wrote and performed one of the most beautiful sad songs with "Crying," a story of lost love and broken hearts. The lyrics don't specifically apply here, but I always thing of this song when I'm heartsick, and I'm heartsick now.

More Abu Ghraib photos were released today, much worse than the last bunch. Too horrible for words, and shocking even to me, a hardened internet veteran who has seen plenty of gross stuff from the dark underbelly of mankind. I am way, way past appalled. Appalled was two weeks ago. There is no word for the kind of ... spiritual malaise ... that falls over me when I see this heartless, senseless, pointless cruelty. I begin to imagine that I know how the Allied soldiers who first walked into the liberated Nazi death camps must have felt. That kind of sick to your stomach feeling.

Any pundit who continues to compare this shit to a hazing is going to get kicked in the stomach by me, and while they're doubled over I'll wire up their genitals and plug em into the nearest outlet. These people need some perspective, and dismissing this by saying "Saddam was worse" is like saying that it's okay if you kill some Jews because you're clearly not going to have time to kill six million of em. Hitler was worse, there's no disputing that!

Pardon me, but I think we should be aiming just a wee bit higher than "not as bad as Saddam."

Like many Americans, when I think of our military I often carry in my head the romaticised image of those WWII liberators -- GIs walking into the camps and freeing the starving captives. That's what we should have been doing in Iraq if we were going to be there at all, but this administration can't even get their own John Wayne movie script right. The shame of this scandal and the shame of our leaders' incompetence is scarring my very soul. Unlike most of you, I had a choice at one time in my life: I chose to stay here (and this was during the Reagan years, mind you) because I felt strongly that America was the leader of the free world, and that even when people I disagreed with were in charge, at their core they were good people doing their best. Not anymore.

We have completely and utterly shirked our responsibility as leaders to our children and the world, and it's time to face that and either do something about it, or pass the torch. It's about a lot more than Abu Ghraib, it's about our entire ethical collapse as a nation.

Which brings to Frank Rich's damning, heart-stopping, terrifying review of Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11. Unlike the conservative blowhards who wouldn't travel to the land of Freedom Fries (insert hollow laugh here) to see the movie they condemn, Rich's review is condemning not just of the targets Moore excoriates, but of the media itself, pointing out that much of this material -- Moore has been working on this film for more than a year -- has not been previously seen by the American public, including torture footage from a different prison, months before the Abu Ghraib tortures.

Rich also points out some of the devastating interviews with soldiers on duty, wounded soldiers and their families in such detail that you leave the review scared to see this film. And here I was breathlessly anticipating it as a big anti-Bush pep rally. Phht.

The quote from Barbara Bush at the start of Rich's review really sums up the hollowness and non-human-ness of the neocons, and of the monsters they have helped create:
But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him [George W.] suffer." - Barbara Bush on "Good Morning America," March 18, 2003

Please, please let this film be the bitch-slap this country so desperately needs to wake up and reclaim its place as the standard-bearer for a better tomorrow.

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