Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Haditha, Iraq: What War Is

Just give me the truth. I can take it from there.

An adequately educated American is honest enough to recognize propaganda, even when it's his own nation’s and serves his own national interests. Every true American abhors a cover-up and adores truth. He never fears the consequences of a full and complete rendering of events as they actually happen, because he is obligated to participate in his government, and must be well-informed about the world around him as it actually is in order to due his civic duty.

Lord knows, there are not many “real Americans” like that left these days. And, if the national media are any indication, there are far fewer on the Right than just about anywhere else.

The Right thinks America is wonderful and not saying so ought to be a crime. It’s the land of the free, the home of the brave. We have the best of everything, and our economic, health, and judicial systems are the best and fairest ever. The Right doesn’t like the stories that tell the difficult truth about us, how we actually behave or what we do to other nations and our own citizens in the name of the greater good.

Which brings us to Haditha, the newest Iraqi war word entering the lexicon of U.S. history.

Just give me the truth.

Listen to the Republican talking heads spreading out across the media universe. Listen to their message: Murdering babies and elderly men praying in bed is an unfortunate by-product of ridding the world of evil. What’s truly inexcusable, truly morally repulsive, is telling people it happened.

The Right-wing media hacks, the Coulters and O’Reilly’s, their various duped Christian groups, they all demand that public discourse be dominated by the good news story line where we are always Good and always fight Evil, that God blesses America and raises us up above all other nations, and that our citizens are incapable of the kind of barbaric savagery in which our enemies routinely engage. This is dangerous and delusional. Men are men and war is Hell.

These people are substance abusers. They imbibe patriotism and become drunk on the perfection of their beloved land. Their deep, infinite childhood oneness with mother, tragically lost and unmourned, is suddenly back, rarified and purified. And shared. Together. As a nation. And a drug.

They live in the pure timelessness of Nationalism, and are quite insane.

The fact is that all wars everywhere and all through history have had their Hadithas, their My Lais, their Carthages and Kosovos. Children are always mutilated, women and girls always raped, babies skewered. Old men shot dead while in bed praying. Generations of selfless young volunteers come home haunted by what they’ve seen and done, then live with it for a half century more.

The Bush administration owes us and the world a full accounting of what happened in Haditha before we can begin to ask why or figure out what it all means.

Just give me the truth. I need it so I can think about this.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bush's Policies a Failure? The President Agrees

A poll released in today’s New York Times reports that two-thirds of respondents “had little or no confidence that Mr. Bush could successfully end the war.”

The sad part is that the president himself belongs in this majority. Recall that he said several months ago that the process of ending the Iraq war will be up to “other presidents” and “other administrations.”

Glad to see most of the country has caught up to this man’s brilliant analysis of his own debacle.