The Political Werewolf
If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.
All righty, here we go.
Doing as the Romans Did
Last week, I wanted to say something with regards to the pictures of Iraqi prisoners being put in sexually manipulative positions and the reaction that the pictures had caused. I eventually decided to shelve the column, mainly because I couldn't come up with a way to get my point across without, as I mentioned on the front page, "looking like a jackass." I'd already been pretty much chased out of the discussion on the other board I frequent due to the fact that my take on the matter made me appear, as one poster put it, like a "morally bankrupt twit." Of course, anyone who knows me knows that such is not the case, but with what I had to say, you could certainly make that argument.
You see, my opinion on all of that was, to be perfectly honest, that I didn't see what all the fuss was about. This is a general public that's been bombarded with sexual imagery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Janet Jackson exposed herself in front of 60 million people - many of them children - and anyone who condemned the event was considered a prude. This is a country that barely bat an eyelash while our president was having affairs with interns and lying about it under oath. But a few pictures of Iraqi prisoners put in positions that you could easily find elsewhere on the internet for a monthly fee, and all of a sudden our collective stomach turns.
Once again, this country has shown symptoms of the same kind of elitism and self-consciousness that did in the Roman Empire back in the old days. The Pax Romana was the longest and most stable era in the history of civilization. The country was strong, the people were prospering, and everyone was having a jolly good time. So much so, in fact, that nobody noticed when the foundation was crumbling until everything collapsed. Unfortunately, the very same thing is happening in this country.
The problem with Americans as a whole is that we are simply too worried about keeping up appearances. Never mind about being respected, we want to be liked. The entire matter of going to war in Iraq is a prime example. Nobody disputed the fact that Saddam was a despicable human being that needed to be separated from the power he lorded over his people. The only reason why anyone didn't support it was because of the image that we would be exhibiting the rest of the world; after all, what good is overthrowing a murderous dictator and liberating the Iraqi people if we end up looking like reckless cowboys?
The saving grace of this country is that we thankfully still know where we came from. We hold the traditions of freedom and security dear to our hearts, and when either is endangered, that's when we as Americans wake up and act. Unfortunately, after the grrrwoofwoofery that led up to the Iraqi invasion, the country is once again slipping into a coma of complacency. We hear news of the deaths of American soldiers who've been sent to the country in an attempt to make a democracy from scratch in a hostile region of the world where its neighbors are doing everything they can to knock down the house of cards we're building, and yet the only thing that seems to get us riled up is how we're handling our prisoners.
After hearing of the news of Nicholas Berg, the American who was captured in Iraq by members of Al Qaeda, decapitated, the entire gruesome process being videotaped, I knew that this was the price we as Americans pay for our apathy.
I have not watched the video of the decapitation, nor do I intend to. I simply do not have the stomach to watch anything like that. I have heard the descriptions of what transpires on that video, however, and at this point, I have something to say to all of the hand-wringing, self-moralizing, image-obsessed liberals who are still aghast at the thought of a naked Iraqi with a bag over his head.
Sit down and shut up.
In my mind, the prisoners in Abu Ghraib - let's not forget that these people are prisoners, and they're prisoners for a reason - are on the same team as the monsters who killed Berg. They are working to the same end. They're likely to use the same tactics if given the same opportunity. Knowing this, I could give a rat's ass how they're treated in our custody.
The killing of Berg is one of the most heinous acts in human history. Perhaps even moreso than 9/11, which in comparison seems fairly sterile and efficient. At least the ones on those planes died quickly and painlessly. The beheading of Berg was slow and excruciating. He wasn't guillotined, he wasn't given a quick slash across the neck with a sword. They took a knife and stabbed him in the neck in five places. He felt every stab, his screams of pain audible until the third stab when the knife struck his vocal cords. And all the while, these beasts were praising their God, the God of a religion we're supposedly told is peaceful.
These are the people we're fighting here. These are the ones we should be directing or anger against. Not the soldiers taking pictures of naked prisoners; not a president who's staying the course amidst a tsunami of liberal vitriol; not a secretary of defense who's directing our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan to the best of his ability. Anyone who claims to "support the troops" needs to realize that the enemy that they face is soulless, heartless, emotionless, unscrupulous. They killed an innocent American in a way that harkens back to the old stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, celebrating it in their typical perverted fashion. They'll do it again if they get another chance.
So if you're a liberal, stop getting hot and bothered about what we're doing to our opponents and start getting hot and bothered about what they're doing to us. This is not some fictional villain we're going after here, like Dr. Evil or Vegeta or the Riddler. There are real consequences to the actions we take in the near future. Terrorism is a disease on this planet, and its followers are akin to viruses. They find a host body, invade, spread their poison, and serve no higher purpose than the total destruction of that which they've infiltrated. No free country has lasted much longer than 200 years, and we're pushing 230. If we want this country to remain solvent, we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves and start fighting the ones who are really coming after us. We can worry if we look like a jackass doing it later.
4/30/04: It's All Downhill From Here
4/2/04: Dick Clarke Hosts American Grandstand
3/17/04: Terrorism Won
3/1/04: Why I'm Not Voting for Bush
2/22/04: The Natives Are Restless
12/17/03: Catching the Rat
12/9/03: Thank God for Freedom of Religion
10/8/03: We're Not Gonna Take It
8/27/03: Getting Rid of Splinters
7/14/03: Where's the Utopia?
6/30/03: Minority Reports
6/9/03: With a Capital T and that Rhymes With D and that Stands for Democrats
5/26/03: Where's the Harm?
5/12/03: The Ten Questions a Liberal Will Never Answer
5/5/03: Let The Fun Begin
4/21/03: It's My Money, Not TheIRS
4/14/03: Bush Won - Get Over It
4/7/03: Conservative Business 101
3/31/03: I'm a Celebrity - No War in Iraq!
3/24/03: Patriotism vs. Nationalism