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Creek Running North
February 15, 2006
Do not click this link
If you have a sensitive stomach and are easily disturbed by graphic scenes of injury, do not click this link.
If you are at work, and your workplace is a gentle sort of place, with clean floors and soothing lights, and well-planned spreadsheets tracking relationships among numbers, leather-backed chairs in the lobby with a framed landscape painting, and discord would be upsetting to your employer, do not click this link.
If you are proud of the United States do not click this link. If you have high hopes for a free and democratic Iraq with the aid of our soldiers do not click this link. If you are a child under the age of 18 do not click this link.
If you prefer to read of airy things, lyrical paeans to the desert or sweet dog stories, if you ask your reading to lift your soul to an elevated plane, or thirst for clever turns of phrase that send pretty metaphors flitting, do not click this link. If bored, you search for smirks, for snark, for ridicule of the ridiculous; if your politics are the politics of edginess, of cynicism, do not click this link.
Do not click this link. If you have seen all you can bear of this evil, do not click this link. A solon errs, and we rush to the news to hear what the comedians have to say:do not click this link. The purple thumbs have it: this is a war against extremism. Do not click this link. We will be greeted as liberators! Do not click this link. You go to war with the army you have. Do not click this link.
If you think this is an aberration, do not click this link. If you think the US has lost its way, do not click this link. If you long for the humane America of a half century ago, when we stood for freedom in Iran and Guatemala and Mississippi, do not click this link.
If the dead man in leather reminds you of an uncle, do not click this link. If you see yourself in the crumpled faces smashed into doors, do not click this link. If you feel the shackles on your twisted arms and long for the courage to end it now, to spit at the American with his camera and swagger, do not click this link.
If you would ride the end of day home, put up your feet and sit in flickering light and fall asleep, do not click this link.
Posted by Chris Clarke at February 15, 2006 04:02 PM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you.Posted by: David at February 15, 2006 04:39 PM
Yeah, and I hear they're still holding back most of the stuff with women and kids as victims. Damnit. >: How can anyone call themselves human and still make any case at all for this horror ?Posted by: alsis39.5 at February 15, 2006 04:44 PM
It's entirely human. Both the suffering and the violence. A good bit of history is suffering and violence. And it's entirely human. Not desirable. But definitely human.Posted by: Idyllopus at February 15, 2006 05:13 PM
I suppose that I'd hoped we were meant for better things than for carving each other up while giving beaming smiles to the camera, Idyll.
Brandy Baker had an excellent column a couple of years back called "Dead Babies," in which she thought that if the public had to see dead, bombed kids on TV, the war would be over in a manner of weeks. And that, of course, is why we don't see them on TV.Posted by: alsis39.5 at February 15, 2006 05:17 PM
alsis39.5 is absolutely correct. I too looked at the images, hoping they had released the photos of the sexual assaults and rapes of male and female children by US military and contracted personnel. I say hoping, because it is quite clear, that once Congress saw them, they acted to end the practice across the board. We need them out in the world for all to see, which would stimulate a call by the whole of this nation for an end to the war on terror. Our nation is being led down a path that is simply untenable. We have become the very enemy many people we are fighting.Posted by: spyder at February 15, 2006 07:10 PM
The Administration fought to prevent the release of some of these photos. Even Rumsfeld said he found what he saw hard to believe (or something like that). So we knew what these were, or had an idea. But nothing matches the reality.
I would prefer sweet dog stories and paeans to the desert. And pictures of happy children. And . . . But this is what this country is becoming. We are not fighting the war on terror. We are the terror.Posted by: Charles at February 15, 2006 07:38 PM
I would prefer sweet dog stories and paeans to the desert.
Me too, Charles.
Sometimes that stuff seems like birding from the deck of the Titanic. But I'd like to think that I'd be marveling at the beauty of the iceberg as I helped people into the lifeboats.Posted by: Chris Clarke at February 15, 2006 07:42 PM
One ugly aspect of this is that there are plenty of Bush/Republican supporters who will not understand that publicizing these things is a good way to see that Americans are not involved in such actions in the future, so that we all are moved to work a bit harder to become a better people.
Instead, they will think only that anyone publicizing these pictures MUST hate America. With the unspoken assertion that we'd all be better off if this stayed hidden -- that Bush might tell lies that lead to this kind of suffering and death, but that as long as it doesn't come to public attention, it's all good.
To them, America is better off if the torture is hidden, rather than if it's not done at all.Posted by: Hank Fox at February 15, 2006 08:02 PM
Word is that the GOP-controlled congress is working on legislation to allow the president to order warrentless spying on americans, with the law being retroactive.
In other words, "Bush broke the law? Well, now he didn't."
There are 36-40 percent of the population that will not get upset at Bush after seeing these photos. They will never get upset. Never.
It's a religion. The more reasons you show them to abandon their faith in Bush, the more desperately they will cling to him.
Hoping for that thing that finally sways public opinion enough that more people will stand up and demand an end to this is pointless. It will never happen. It will NEVER happen.
Every last person willing to stand up is already standing. If we can't figure out a way to stop it with the people we already have, then there simply is no ending it.Posted by: craig at February 15, 2006 09:00 PM
Horrifying. Just horrifying.Posted by: Ancrene Wiseass at February 16, 2006 01:19 AM
But it is nothing recent. It is nothing new. It's just plain ol' business as usual. And that's the thing, that we have constantly deluded ourselves into believing it has been anything but.
From a post of mine a couple of weeks ago:
"The road to where we are now started a long time ago. Emerson writing of the American Indian Removal of 1838 said, it was a 'crime that really deprives us as well as the Cherokees of a country; for how could we call the conspiracy that should crush these poor Indians our Government, or the land that was cursed by their parting and dying imprecations our country, any more?'"
Quite a distinguished history since then as well.
And as long as we don't confront head on, without excuses (and there are always excuses), the genocide upon which this country was built, then it will always and ever be more of the same. I firmly believe this.
It is not a matter of what this country is becoming. It is a matter of what it has *ever* been. A supposed free and compassionate society built on the extermination and removal of hundreds of indigenous nations?
No. As Emerson said, it deprived us of country, quite literally, our flagrant extermination of peoples in the name of liberty and freedom and the seizing of their land, sweeping aside all treaties as ifthey didn't exist.
The 4 presidential heads looming over the Black Hills don't belong there.
It's not a matter of what we are becoming...Posted by: Idyllopus at February 16, 2006 02:06 AM
Chris, I am confident on both counts: (a) you would be helping people into the lifeboats (after all, not everyone would) and (b) you would be marvelling at the natural forces involved.
Craig is absolutely right about the blind faith. For an eloquent exploration of what's at work, see Glenn Greenwald's recent post (sorry, I'm not techie enough to post a link).Posted by: Charles at February 16, 2006 04:17 AM
No matter how often I see these photos, old or new, I always end up crying. And I fiercely try to shake the tears loose, not because these are the doings of Americans (though my anger at the denial of so many Americans and the refusal to stop what they are doing has gone so deep that I will never trust the country again or ever go back there to live... in spite of my family living there and so many very important friends), but because I see the shadow of all of us across the world in these photos, the ghost that hounds us to destroy this graceful and beauteous planet we live on, along with ourselves. Sure there is suffering in our lives, but it doesn't take much to refuse to cause suffering or destruction, just a twist of spirit telling outselves that we all in this boat together, Titanic or no.Posted by: butuki at February 16, 2006 10:08 AM
This probably won't be of interest or considered relevant, I don't believe. Though I think it is. At that link is, of the households of the Otoe in Noble Co. OK in the 1900 census, the number of total children had by women and the number of children surviving. The figures are from 14 consecutive pages (A and B). The figures are appalling. To me it all does connect, the past into the present. And I think of this and more every time I read "What are we becoming".
These are not normal mortality figures. And 1900 was not so very long ago.
To reflect on the grief of these communities is overwhelming.Posted by: Idyllopus at February 16, 2006 03:53 PM