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14 May 2004 @ 08:17 pm
Stephen Notley, on upping the ante in the Iraq War...

... I imagine Bush supporters or other readers might ask "So where's all your outrage when it's Al Qaeda committing atrocities? Why are you always picking on America?" I guess my response would be that our enemies don't seem to lack for people to decry their villainy; that seems pretty covered. It's our own villainy that needs to be exposed because that's the villainy we can control and are responsible for.

"These people have no respect for life; they hide behind their own women and children!" So when we, knowing they're hiding behind women and children, proceed to blow those women and children away, well, jeez, it's not our fault --they made us!

What these pictures and those to come seem to point out another fantastic side effect of war, that cool morally corrosive effect that burns away our own decency by making us feel like we're justified in committing horror because our enemies are inhuman. We're letting them turn us into the monsters they see us as just as we're turning them into our monsters. Somewhere along the line somebody has to refuse to be a monster.

It's the whole Us-vs.-Them thing. Folks, there is no Them. We're all Us. Those that hate us, they're still part of us. Them, the enemy, they are not the enemy. The war is the enemy, and it's the common enemy of Us and Them. It's killing Us, and it's killing Them, and it's providing the open arena for every dark evil we both can conjure. And for every ante-upping "Well, see, they're even worse" bit of justification, you're just playing into the whole Us vs. Them thing that fuels the thing we should be fighting.
PMMJ: Venn Diagramcheetahmaster on May 14th, 2004 05:20 pm (UTC)
While I'm at it, check out this cartoon by Ted Rall.
That Guynecrocannibal on May 14th, 2004 06:01 pm (UTC)
notley's ideas here are idealized to the point of childishness on first reading. Rall seemed to be right on.

something else i'm reading
see, this guy just wants to get back to his job: verifying tat women's hymens are intact for legal purposes. (actually this guy may just work down the hall from that guy.) Also, we attend a get-together for a guy who works for M. Sadr, he basically says a bunch of lies and the crowd eats it up. I don't know why that should shock me.

So here's another viewpoint i've heard about this conflict - the only thing it's about is power, and the one to have that power is whoever is going to be the most violent for the longest. and is it going to be sadr or us? I don't really understand that but once i heard it i can't stop thinking about it, probably because i'm a dangerous paranoid.
PMMJ: Jade Scorpioncheetahmaster on May 14th, 2004 06:08 pm (UTC)
Notley is an idealist, yes, but I like his rebuttal to the 'but al-Qaeda is worse than us!' argument.

That New Yorker article seems interesting, I hope to finish reading at a later date to see if the author is building up to a point.

As for the power thing, seems like a simplistic and not too constructive way to look at things. Isn't all war about power? And money about power? OK, then isn't everything about power? So what's the dilly-o then? Maybe that's just me.
That Guynecrocannibal on May 14th, 2004 07:04 pm (UTC)
that damn online format at the new yorker makes every article a mile long, and it was a little long in print too. I thought it was an interesting read, though.

yeah i don't know the answer to the power thing either.
Andy: mountain goatcastironskillet on May 15th, 2004 10:19 am (UTC)
As I "reply all"ed to a coworker's forward of such a rebuttal of the torture outrages to those mentioned above, "Two wrongs don't make a right. We're supposed to be the good guys."

Thanks man :)