Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Abu Ghraib

The recent images, the ones that someone knew were wrong, of humiliation and torture and gloating, are burned in my mind, much like the utterly fantastic fireworks of shock and awe. I've been cringing for almost two years. I am truly ashamed to be American today. I've had a sick twisting stomach feel since it became clear, to me at least, that the dickhead in the Whitehouse was dead set on sending our military might on a desert exercise. That was around October 2002, it became clear they were going to do it, no matter what we said, no matter what the inspectors said.

So now, we have caused mass graves in Fallujah's stadiums. We have slaughtered in a variety of ways a ten thousand count of innocent Iraqis. We scooped up and still hold over 6 thousand in the prisons of the former dictator. They are subhuman to us, dogs to kick, flies to pull wings off of, two-dimensional beings we may number but never name. Who cares anymore about things like the Geneva Convention? Don't like the way we do things? Tough shit. What are you going to do about it?

Bring 'em on. We can take it. The troops, they are my guys and girls, my sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. They wanted an education, to go to college and make something of themselves, so they sold themselves to the military machine. And they are getting an education but not one that enlightens or enriches, not one that rewards with understanding, compassion, self-knowledge and transformation. No. They are coming home broken, corrupted and fouled, angry and lost. They'll hide, a lot of them, out of shame and fear and dreams that won't leave them alone. Others will find the taste of blood and danger the most intoxicating, most real addiction and they'll sign up for more. Some will break down completely and end their lives. May as well, the big sleep is the only peace. Their babies will be DU-deformed anyway.

And nobody stands up to say, "I take responsibility."

The buck keeps floating around like a balloon. Bush bats it to Cheney who bumps it over to Rumsfeld who scowls at it and tosses it toward the Pentagon. The Generals are getting really pissed about that by now.

Who will stand up and take responsibility? Maybe I should. Enough hand-wringing. Enough expressions of disgust. I did that to you, Iraqi man. I made you naked and covered your head and snickered as I made you spank your monkey. I piled you in that pile and pissed on you, kicked you in the ribs til you thought they were broken, made you think you'd be electrocuted. I kept you on your knees for so long that the skin broke and you lost track of the pain. I tossed you out in the yard, handcuffed and headbagged, naked in the rain like so much garbage.

I did it to you and so it was also done to me.

I'm so sorry.