This is more reflection on the news-of-the-world stuff that occupies my head.
Don't feel like I'll bite if you disagree... if you think I'm whack and prefer to ignore idiots... cool.
If you have something to say... I will listen.
I am writing because there is so many conflicting issues at play that I cannot collect myself without trying to write about it.
I cannot condone torture… but neither can I condone war.
Apparently we do both.
Am I surprised?
Not even a little.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Sage advice that... it guides us well in our day to day dealings with the world.
There are those that say these words should guide men-at-arms...
that times of war are only palatable if we stand on ceremony, maintain valor and respect the conventions set out to govern the way we wage war.
Those would be people that need to wake the fuck up and pour themselves a steaming hot cup of "what planet are you on?"
When prim and proper British dune warriors faced off against the fuzzy wuzzies, The Sudan was littered with their prim and proper mutilated corpses...
When they marched across Afghanistan, they were decimated, one sun-burned, tired soldier at a time... and those endings were gruesome in ways that we cannot begin to imagine.
Contemporary cinema gets a lot of stuff wrong, but there is a litany of war movies that drive home, factually, the truth of war; it is a sickening exercise in testosterone fueled aggression.
The movie "The deer hunter" is a true story...
Did you see Platoon?
What about Apocalypse Now?
No, I'm not holding those films out as historical factoids...
stop being picky... I'm making a point.
They can make all the rules they want and we can become armchair luminaries at will but mankind has never effectively waged war with white gloves and we're not about to start now.
Make no mistake, this is a good thing. Don't you dare assume that war can be cleaned up and made lovely... or that soldiers will behave as if on a parade ground with flags-a-waving or that their enemies will elect a high road at the cost of victory. War is a bloody business and it should never be anything less... It is a sickening, pathetic and utterly-without-merit means of conducting foreign affairs or global politics. Men who long ago forgot how to make peace have built a cultural reality out of making war and doing it with white gloves just makes me want to puke.
Clearly we are being exposed to awful truths in the reproduction of those prison photographs... but they are nothing new and the behavior they describe will not vanish just because we are disgusted.
We talk about the high standards we hold our armies to... and how despicable the demoralizing treatment of those iraqi prisoners was... yet we sit around and watch the news with a smirk while hospitals, schools, shopping malls, and homes are bombed into the stone age, let alone the citizens aka collateral damage.
We count American dead and then complain about the soldiers handling of an enemy combatant. We sit still for unreported numbers of iraqi deaths and cheer the fueling up of helicopter gun ships when our soldiers are hacked to death in public squares...
The hypocrisy is rampant.
We do not even know if those pictures are real... and don't scoff... any number of theories can bring to focus complex motivations behind the falsification or the elective slipping out of that news. We congratulate the military for committing to the punishment of those involved... but what will they be punished for? Behaving the way they did? or for taking pictures?
And as for our disgust... it seems we are rather easily manipulated. The treatment of prisoners has been well reported by various watch groups... but totally ignored until the pictures show up.
I am reminded of the 1980's media darling; The Artic Seal Hunt. Talk, talk, talk, talk .... then show us a baby seal being clubbed to death and we're all action. Turns out the Save The Seals folks staged the picture-taking episode. And don't get me started on what happened to northern cod stocks after it became a faux pas to kill the little cod eating seals.
To sum up today’s mini rant...
Don't tell my you're against torture unless you are ready to tell me you're against war.
Don't tell me you think war should be fought with rules... tell the orphans of war and let me know how that goes.
Don't blame the few soldiers that happened to be captured on film... when you know full well they are part of a well oiled military machine that tells those soldiers how to tie their shoes, and anything else they do.
Don't believe everything you see ...
and never... EVER... fight a land war in Asia.