Snapshots from Abu Ghraib

  • George-Bush-flys“In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing (the Abu Ghraib photos), I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.” – President Barack Obama
  • “Barack Hussein Obama — [may] still be a Muslim –[and] has aligned himself with the Muslim Brotherhood” – Frank Gaffney, ex Richard Perle lackey and PNAC signatory, propagandizing in the Washington Times
  • “(Bring an end) to this false prophet, Obama” – Jon Voigt, addressing a GOP fund raiser, seeking deliverance
  • “The blood (of Dr. Tiller) is on your hands —” – FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, to Slate’s Joan Walsh, in a moment of gross psychological projection
  • “Bill, you’re a piece of work. His blood is on your hands—“ – Joan Walsh to Bill O’Reilly, correcting the record
  • “George Tiller was a mass murderer —[who] reaped what he sowed” – Randall Terry, not quite rejoicing at the murder of Dr. George Tiller
  • “(If you support Sonia Sotomayor), the blood (of murdered unborn babies) will be on your hands—” – Randall Terry, emboldened by the murder of Dr. George Tiller
  • “The family of Dr. George Tiller announces that effective immediately, Women’s Health Care Services, Inc., will be permanently closed,” stated attorneys Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat today.
  • “9/11 — 9/11—September the eleventh— 9/11— 9/11—” – George W. Bush
  • “Terror, in its various forms, is good. Terror is right, terror works. Terror clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit—And terror will not only save the lives of unborn babies, but, you mark my words, it will save that other threatened life, the USA.” – Gordon bin Gek’ko.

Starting on approximately September 12, 2001, George W. Bush famously invoked “9/11!” (see quote above) relentlessly, as much as a warning as a rallying cry. Cheney’s number one talking point in the recent weeks since his re-emergence is that proof of the “success” Bush anti-terrorism tactics is that we were not attacked again in the seven years after 9/11. The question begged is, why not? A possible answer is: How does Al Qaeda – or anybody – top 9/11? Yet another might be: The Bush folks were scaring us so much on a daily basis, beginning on September 12th, that there was another 9/11 coming that Qaeda didn’t have to bother with another 9/11.

But that’s quibbling. ‘Twas Cheney’s torture that did the trick.

And of course what is torture but one-on-one terror. Or excuse me, not torture because—

“We do not torture” – Osama bin Bush.

No, we use (used?) enhanced interrogation techniques, no doubt a term concocted by Frank Luntz. That was the Bush approach to “the war on terrorism”: torture vs. terror, darkness vs. darkness, blood for blood, war, wiretaps, demonization, rendition, imprisonment. Permanent imprisonment. And no defense attorneys, please. And first and foremost, in perhaps another nod to Luntz, be sure to refer to anti-terrorism as a “war.”

It wasn’t Abe Lincoln’s America anymore.

We have seen the reaction to the September 11th attacks, not just in our own souls but also on the part of our “leaders”. “Be afraid, be very afraid”. And we have seen the value of the attack – not so much to Osama Bin Laden, but to George Bush. He had nothing to do with it, we are fairly certain, but boy did he and his minions hit the jackpot.

And so the Abu Ghraib culture was cultivated. The terrorism didn’t seem to be a warning to the Bush administration, but a playbook. This was the way to get people to behave, to change things, to get things done we can’t get done through, say, discussion or legislation.

The original Abu Ghraib prison abuse photographs were shocking, and meant to be. Not to us, but for the “enemy”. And it was not to get them to behave, it was to get them to be angry. And to stay angry.

That is Rumsfeld’s, and Cheney’s, dirty secret strategy: to keep those Muslims enraged, perpetually enraged, to deliver us that perpetual war Gore Vidal has cited as being the true basis of our power and wealth over the last 60 years.

When the Berlin wall fell in 1989, a lot more than bricks and mortar fell. So did the “cold war”, and so did Communism.

“Terror” improved on Communism in many different ways. It was not confined to one particular country, like Russia, or a particular person. Like the “war on drugs” the enemy was real but amorphous, and would be here forever— and would be just as lucrative, as long as people were so convinced, or so scared and therefore convincible, that fighter jets and atomic missiles still needed to be purchased to fight it.

Mission accomplished.

The startling revelations of those “enhanced techniques” – and the jaw dropping defense thereof by Cheney and his apologists – all seems way too reminiscent of what the German citizens (and returning soldats for that matter) must’ve felt when confronted with the dirty underside of the folks in power – the torture chambers, the concentration camps. And the smooth propaganda elevated to a dark art by J. P. Goebbels. All too reminiscent.

Except there was Nuremberg in 1946. Why doesn’t Obama release the latest set of snapshots from Abu Ghraib? Perhaps because the renewed outrage would play right into the hands of bin Laden – “Look what they did to us – and the perpetrators are not being punished!”

So will anyone be held to account for exacerbating the terrorized -and terror utilizing – Mid-East people?

Maybe, but meanwhile, the damage has been done.

What has been unleashed by the Bush “war on terror by means of terror”? The photos of Abu Ghraib underscore an ugly aspect of Americans that is now permanently in the ether. More photos will only further the belief, and create greater rage – over there and over here.[ad#go-daddy-468×60]

The real damage is how many people think Abu Ghraib abuses are correct, that Gitmo is correct, as sort of mindless revenge, not true justice. The real damage is how many people think it’s the only way that works – both to fight the terrorism in response to 9/11 and other atrocities, but to get what one wants when legislators and “activist courts” fail us. Gitmaniacs are going to be dropped off in our backyards. Exhibit A: them “Uighans” are mocked for removal from Cuba to the Bahamas. Never mind that they happen to be innocent; it’s indicative of a tone deaf bunch of liberals unraveling the safety net so carefully crafted by Dick Cheney et al.

And now the Iranians voters are really confusing us. Two weeks ago, they were members of a society once declared 1/3 of the “axis of evil” and purveyors of terrorism through Hezbollah, mortal enemies of Israel. Many of those marchers that McCain once would have had us “bomb bomb bomb” are now pale green festooned icons of freedom, whom the same McCain would have us believe Obama “the false prophet” is spurning. Which is it Senator? Bomb or hug?

Now the major terror we have encountered lately does not come with Muslim named brown skinned foreigners, but rather decidedly pale home grown perpertrators. “Leaders” squawking on the bully pulpits of talk radio and Fox News Channel, and not a few holding public office, demagogue about the evils of those protected by the misguided laws or, charlatans duly elected under false pretenses— and are shocked, shocked that their followers act to effect change they can believe in.

By means of terror.

Dr. George Tiller was murdered in a Christian church by a “pro-life” Christian in an act of pure terror. As a consequence, Dr. Tiller could no longer practice, and the Tiller family closed his 30-year-old clinic— a direct accomplishments of this act of terror. U. S. Marshalls must guard the only two other doctors in the entire country who will perform the (legal) procedure Tiller performed. There are other doctors who can do it, but they are— afraid. They are— terrorized.

Who knows who lonely folks in their mother’s basement, blogging hate and blaring Beck are gunning for now – the false prophet Obama? Reverse racist / unborn baby killer Sotomayor? The two remaining late term abortion providers? Evil liberals listed in a book by David Goldberg?

We don’t need another 9/11 to remain terrorized. Osama bin Laden doesn’t need to plan another 9/11 to terrorize us. We are there on our own.

I go back on forth on Obama releasing those photos, as I am sure he himself does. He really doesn’t want to enflame the Mideast further. But he really doesn’t want to enflame us either. But do we have the luxury to simply “move on”? Why fear the outrage?

Perhaps the one good, true thing resulting from the release of the photos of Abu Ghraib is to release ourselves.

“Outrage” there would be.

bob_illes-copy.gifBut outrage is good, outrage is right. Outrage clarifies and cuts through, forcing us to call to account our past.

Calling into account our past might be the only hope for the present.

Robert Illes

Internet radio show “Funny is Money” starring Bob Illes is now on nightly at 7 PM Pacific time CHECK IT OUT!

Reprinted with permission from the Valley Democrats United newsletter, Margie Murray, Editor, where the article first appeared.

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