As a Catholic school survivor I am hardly a fan of that two-legged medieval anachronism, the Pope. And I am not exactly jumping to his defense, though the quote he used to describe Islam was right on the money. Nevertheless, I'd like nothing better than to see the Vatican converted into the Trump Hotel/Casino, Rome and the Pope forced to earn his keep as concierge.
(So okay, I have issues. What Catholic school survivor doesn't still awake at 2 am dreaming he/she is being chased by a yardstick swinging 200 pound penguin wearing sensible shoes? --- Just me? Okay, forget I mentioned it.)
But come on with this latest Islamic outrage thing. Give me a break Berka boys. So the Pope dissed Islam. And now Muslims demand that the man in the dress apologize -- personally and convincingly.
Well fine. I say the Pope should apologize -- right after every Mullah who has ever dissed Jews and/or Christians apologizes -- personally and convincingly.
First let's see what Pope Pompous VXI said that got the Muslim's knickers in such a twist. It was quote from the days when Pope's were in charge of most of western civilization – or “back in the The Day,” as the Vatican refers to the period.
The book the Pope quoted recounted a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian intellectual on fundamental truths of Christianity and Islam - and jihad, or holy war. |
"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new," said the emperor, "and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
So there is. Pope Pompous VXI issued the religious eqivalent of a, “your prophet wore combat boots” zinger to Islam.
Now, let's see what Muslim religious leaders have been saying, since then and long before the Pope put his silk pumps in his mouth.
This from a Friday Sermon entitled, "We Must Educate our Children on the Love of Jihad," by Mullah, Sheik Al-Madhi:
".... Oh, you who love Allah... This [Muslim] nation has left the leadership of the human race to a handful of contemptible Jews and their assistants and was satisfied [with its position at] the tail of the convoy...""...Oh, you who love Allah, it is our duty to strive so that all our deeds will be [only] for the sake of Allah. Listen to the following precious story:"
"In one African country, a Muslim army was fighting against the Byzantine army. The number of the Byzantines was more than ten times the number of the Muslims... The Byzantine commander was Gregorius and his daughter was by his side. Gregorius' daughter said: 'My father, who are these, they are merely a handful, their number is small, no more than 15,000, who are they?' He answered her: 'These are the Arab horsemen.' She said: 'My father, give them to me as spoils.' And he had given her [their property's worth] as spoils, before the battle even took place. However, Allah wanted Gregorius killed in the battle and his daughter to be one of the captives."
"The commander of the Muslim army wanted to know who killed Gregorius, but nobody answered."
"This is how we should also act: Do, do, and do, but without talking."
"Allah knows what we do and there is no necessity for humans to know this as well. With such noble values, the [Muslim] nation shall win..." (More)
Hey, Tony Saprano couldn't have put it better. "You whack them, then you shut the f..k up about it. The boss knows what you did for him."
Want more? Easy. The Web is lousy these days with Islamic rants.
... the Qur'an instructs the followers of Muhammad to subjugate the world to his religion, and this includes, if necessary, the use of military conquest. This religious mandate has the direct and practical consequence of persecuting non-Muslims as well as Muslims who are independent intellectual thinkers. Therefore, it is fair and objective to present news articles when the news results from obedience to the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Very near the end of his life, Muhammad left his followers with this command,
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. Sura At-Tawba 9:29 (Yusuf Ali's Translation)
قَاتِلُواْ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلاَ بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَلاَ يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلاَ يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ حَتَّى يُعْطُواْ الْجِزْيَةَ عَن يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ. سورة التوبة
In summary, Sura at-Tawba 9:29 is a call to Muslims to fight,
1. Atheists and polytheists who don't believe in Allah or the Last Day of Judgment.
2. All who don't follow the prohibitions set forth by Muhammad.
3. All non-Muslims who don't follow Muhammad's new religion,
4. People of the Book, meaning Jews and Christians, who are to be fought until they are,
B. Pay the subjugation poll tax, Jizya
c. Feel subdued with the laws of the dhimmi.
Jihad is more than seeking to persuade others to accept the beliefs of Islam. Muslim believe the Qur'an teaches that Jihad includes military power. Of course, Jihad is a dangerous enterprise. The Qur'an urges them fight even though they may disliked it.
In addition, the Qur'an states that Muslims are superior to all of humanity. "Ye are the best of people." http://muhammadanism.org/News/default.htm#Jihad
And this, just yesterday from an al Qaeda linked militant group:
"We tell the worshipper of the cross (the Pope) that you and the West will be defeated, as is the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya," said an Internet statement by the Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group led by Iraq's branch of al Qaeda, according to the Reuters news agency....We shall break the cross and spill the wine. ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome. ... God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen." (More)
What sweethearts. And this from a religion that says the Pope's statement caste them in an unfair light.
If you are trying to sort out this latest “the Muslim's are upset,” flap, here's the bottom lines:
1) Muslims are always upset. These guys wear their insecurities on their berka sleeves. For the rest of us it's like sharing the world with a billion neurotic Chihuahuas that bark and nip at our heels what ever we do and wherever we go. Fenced in by a repressive, anti-intellectual, primitive, misogynistic, unreconstructed faith, they a thousand years of stored up “issues," with everyone else. Push one of those buttons and they fly into a fit that would land them in a straight jacket if they tried it here. Anger management is a modern concept that -- among so many others -- passed them by. When you can't enjoy music, dancing, fancy clothing, an occassional snort or beer, and you gotta fast all day for a month each year, anger becomes the only approved way to cut loose and have a little "fun.".
2) Christians are the world's self-appointed hall monitors. They get up everyone else nose about being “saved.” There is one big difference between Christains and Muslims. When Muslims proselytize to “infidels,” they yell, scream, burn things in effigy and threaten the separating of heads from shoulders. Christians, on the other hand, smile as they deliver their message. They smile the smile of the lobotomized. And no matter how angry you get at them, the continue to smile -- that patronizing-you-poor-soul-I'm-going-to-pray-for-you smile. Which has even led me, at such moments, to wonder if their heads were removed from their shoulders, would that smile remain? (I suspect it would. And how infuriating would that be?)
Anyway, that's all that happened this week. Christianity's super hall monitor, Pope Pompous XVI, told Muslims that they were no good, and were no good right from the get go. He did this by qouting a 14th Christian Crusader who used the sword to spread Christianity to Holy Land. (But, it should be noted, the Pope smiled when he said it.)
The Muslims barked “foul!” They claimed the Pope had defamed their faith and their prophet. And they vowed to burn some churches and kill Christians to prove it.
What we have here is a spat between two of the three axis' of evil, Christianity and Islam. (The third member of the Axis of Evil, Judaism, just pulled up a chair and enjoyed watching the other two fight it out. )
I would love to see a study that tries to figure out how many humans died by violent means between 1000 AD and today in wars that were purely political and wars that were sparked by the clash of those three major methaphysical belief systems. I am willing to bet big money that the number of people who died for their faith -- or because of someone else's faith -- far out number those that died over purely political and/or territorial spats.
I find it deeply depressing that so much of what's wrong in the world today continues being driven by ancient superstitions, each of which believe in utter nonsense, contradicted by science and common sense. And, I'm even more depressed that political correctness dictates we must treat these spiritualist touble makers with kid gloves -- and provide them tax breaks to boot.
Religion -- it's gonna be the death of all of us someday. And as nations like Iran and Pakistan and Israel bulk up their arsenals with nukes, that day may be closer than any of us imagine.
Oh hell, I know it's Saturday, and normally I don't bother you on weekends. But some days it's just unavoidable. And today's news makes it unavoidable.
Holy madhouse, Batman. Am I going crazy or is everyone else going crazy?
Day's like this make that more than rhetorical query.
Where to begin?
Moats. Let's talk moats. You know, those ditches around castles and villages that were all the rage a thousand years ago. Well, they're baaaaccck. Yep. Once the first line of defense for medieval castles the moat has now been embraced by the modern world's last remaining super power.
IRAQ: Iraqi officials plan to dig a series of trenches around Baghdad in the coming weeks to seal it off and control movement into and out of the city, The New York Times reported on Saturday... "We're going to build a trench around Baghdad" -- a distance measuring about 60 miles (97 km) -- "so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly," Brig.-Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf told the Times on Friday in an interview. (More)
So, the next time you hear a reporter ask a US official if things are getting better or worse in Iraq, don't waste a single neuron listening to his reply. All you need to know is that ...
they're building a moat around Baghdad
And it raises more questions than just “how we doin' in Iraq?”
The US defense budget will approach half a trillion dollars this year, a goodly portion of which is being spent on high tech missile defense systems, stealth bombers, nuclear subs and such.
U.S. Successfully Pursues the Global War on Terrorism
* The fiscal 2005 budget includes robust readiness and acquisition funding, important legislative authorities, and other essentials for winning the global war on terrorism.
* Readiness. The request funds the military’s training and readiness requirements and sustains prudent readiness standards, e.g., for flying hours. Ongoing initiatives include
* Improving metrics to evaluate force readiness, with emphasis on evaluating readiness relative to a full range of missions, not merely the traditional major regional contingency operation.
* Fleet Response Plan, adopted in fiscal 2004, expands in fiscal 2005 and will increase the availability of naval assets for duty worldwide. (MORE)
And yet, the best the Pentagon has to offer in Iraq is a moat.
I leave all the implications of that to you to sort out.
And since we are on the subject of institutional mental illness, now this:
Pope Offends Muslims
Afghanistan's Taliban on Saturday demanded Pope Benedict XVI to apologise for remarks linking Islam with violence, adding the comment showed the Christian West was waging war against Muslims..."We strongly condemn it," Mohammad Hanif, who regularly speaks to the media on behalf of the extremist insurgent group, said..."We also want the Pope to apologise before the Muslim Umma (nation)," he said...The remarks were "obviously part of a crusader war that the West, chiefly America and (President) Bush, is waging against Islam and Muslims," he said. (More)
That story SO dovetails with the moat story. It's as though we've all been dragged a thousand years back in time. On one hand we have the most technologically advanced military on earth building a moat to protect a city from invaders. On the other hand we have a European monarch denouncing Islam because of it's violent expansionist doctrine.
And, in response Muslims rushed into the streets and violently proved the point.
Fools to left of me, clowns to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
It's getting to the point I'm afraid to turn the news on in the morning. Is it really global warming that we have to fear? Or could what really end mankind as we know it is that somehow we threw evolution into hyper-reverse?
Can you doubt for one second that the Pope's remarks will spark a whole new Christians v. Muslims/Muslims v. Christians wave worldwide? ("Yo profit was so stupid that...") Remember that flap over the Dutch cartoons? Well that was nothing compared to this. This one has legs... very, very, very old legs.
So, let's review: We have moats abuilding AND a religious nut in silk robes, who lives in a castle and rules unchallenged, poking a stick in the eye of the Judeao/Chrisitain world's arch enemy, Islam. On one side we have western nations filled with biblically lobotmized citzens, lining up and putting on bullet proof vests (armor.) On the other side we have an endless supply of Koranically lobotomized hordes eager to earn their heavenly bones by getting across the moat and killing the guys in armor.
Been there. Done that. And done that, and done that and done that. How many people do you figure have already died over that spat in the last 1500 years or so? Millions? At least.
But don't stop counting. Because, it appears neither side has changed, or learned a thing. They seem to have caught their breath and are ready to for another round.
Thanks for listening. I needed to get that off my chest. Now I must go. I've got a contractor coming over to give me a bid on a moat.
The Redeploy, Ploy
As I've said before... I've been here before. I clearly remember when “the light at the end of tunnel” arrived in Vietnam. That train was named “Tet,” and it heralded the end of that mistake of a war. Oh, the war rumbled on for a while longer, more of our kids died, but Tet was prelude to an inevitable withdrawal of US troops -- and not a moment too soon, I might add.
But remember, we didn't “cut and run.” We “withdrew after training and supplying the South Vietnam forces and turning responsibility for defending South Vietnam's over to them.”
That was our story 35 years ago, , and we're sticking to it.
Of course, the puppet South Vietnamese government we left behind crumbled in short order. And the guys we'd been killing -- and who killed over 60,000 US soldiers – got the keys to country, along with all the bases we built as well as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military gear provided by US taxpayers.
I only mention that because it's mirrors precisely the process now underway in Iraq and Afghanistan. I didn't think it would happen this fast – and neither did the White House. I figured Bush and company would get out of Dodge before their un-winnable Democracy Crusade came up a cropper. That would have been sweet for then, since they would have then just blamed failure on their successors. However it doesn't appear they are going to make a clean getaway after all.
The end of Bush's disasterous Middle East adventure is at hand. The light at the end of the tunnel, just a faint flicker weeks ago, has roared upon the administration with frightening speed. Even the hardest hard-ass Neo-cons in the White House now understand they have a huge PR in making on their watch and on their hands. The best they can now hope for is to arrange some kind of orderly retreat they can spin as not retreat, but “redeployment.”
Which is why they are dusting off the Gerald Ford's 1974 “we didn't cut and run from Vietnam” spin.
But the spin will come later. Right now they have to worry that, at any time now, the Taliban in Afghanistan and/or the al Qaida forces in Ramadi Iraq, pull off spectacular attacks killing and wounding hundreds of US soldiers. Such an offensive would, once and for all, blow away the final vestiges of Bush's fiction of pending victory, not to mention making his “mission accomplished” bravado ring not just hollow, but dereliction.
How do I know the Bushies are readying a retreat? . Just read the news. In Iraq al Anbar province, Sunni territory, is now run almost entirely by al Qaida forces. Since Bush keeps telling us “we are fighting al Qaida over there so we don't have to fight them here,” you'd think US troops would be flooding al Anbar. But there's only 250 US troops there to police an area the size of Pennsylvania.
WASHINGTON - A new military intelligence report offers up the most pessimistic assessment yet of military prospects for al-Anbar province, the vast no-man's land in western Iraq that has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the war — from hard-hit Fallujah to the provincial capital Ramadi, which the U.S. military has never controlled....US commanders in Iraq say they know that the town of Ramadi in al Anbar has become al Qaida's headquarters in Iraq. Yet Ramadi has not been surrounded, bombed or otherwise molested by US forces.
Ask yourself why? The answer is clear. We have no intention of fighing al Qaida in Iraq. In fact, we about to stop fighting anyone in Iraq. We are going to let al Anbar go to the Sunni/al Qaida forces and, when asked why, the Bushies will spin it this way:
“We have always said that the US will stand down as soon as Iraqi troops stand up. They have stood up and we are leaving al Anbar to them to pacify.”
Meanwhile, until the Bushites can lay the groundwork for it's “we didn't cut and run” spin, a handful of US troops remain posted in Ramadi, where on average two are killed each week -- sacrifices to an illusion and future spin.
In Afghanistan things are both worse and better for the US. On one hand it is becoming harder with each passing day for White House spinners to claim things are getting better in Afghanistan. The Taliban have recaptured roughly half the country, for Christ sake.
BRUSSELS, Sept 12: President Pervez Musharraf has warned that Taliban have overtaken Al Qaeda as the region’s biggest threat to security. The Taliban were more dangerous because they had roots as a social movement and not simply an ideology, the president told the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee here on Tuesday....“The centre of gravity of terrorism has shifted from Al Qaeda to Taliban,” he said. “It is a new element that has emerged, a more dangerous element because it has roots in the people. Al Qaeda did not have roots in the people,” he said.
On the other hand the US has successfully in suckering European NATO troops into relieving the US of sole responsibility for that festering sandpile. So administration spin on that mess will go something like this:
“We didn't cut and run from Afghanistan. We turned the job over to NATO.”
Then, when NATO is forced to leave, as the Russians were and we were before them, the Neo-cons will blame it on those “limp-wristed European surrender monkeys.”
But now, before the spin begins, is the time to see the situation for what they are. It's pre-retreat Vietnam all over again. Another wrong war, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, fought wrong, for the wrong reasons, resulting in quagmire. We know the next step -- retreat under a guise of victory.
The US is not “losing” the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we've lost. All we're waiting for now is for the morons who got us into those messes to figure out how to get out without revealing they failed. If that means a few thousand more US GI's have to die, it's a small price to pay – as far as this administration is concerned.
What will happen once we leave? During the Vietnam war we were repeatedly warned that if we “cut and ran,” all the dominoes would fall in sequence -- the entire Asian peninsula would go Commie.
It didn't. They did go on to kill one another enormous numbers, but they were determined to do that whether the US was there or not. US troops just gave them something more to shoot at. Today the only dominions tumbling in and around Vietnam are US businesses falling all over themselves to cut business deals with those “Commies” in Vietnam.
It took a couple of decades for things to settle down in southeast Asia, and it will take at least that long for things to settle down in Iraq and Afghanistan. By toppling Saddam the US set into motion the same process there that the collapse of the Soviet Union unleashed in Yugoslavia. Both were fictitious nations, both populated by mortal enemies only kept in check with a dictator's iron hand. And, when that hand released it's hold, both went about the business of settling thousand-year old scores.
Those forces are pretty much played out in the former Yugoslavia, but it took separating the waring parties and splitting the nation into autonomous ethic enclaves. That process has just begun in Iraq. It was inevitable and failing to recognize that early on is why so many American kids are dead today. Once we leave Iraq will spin apart into three pieces, Shiite, Sunni and Kurd. And yes, a whole lot of Iraqis will end up dead in the process. But they're already about that job and US troops are just something else to shoot at, again.
Afghanistan is a different matter. Afghanistan's problems are joined at the hip with Pakistan's problems. Ironic, huh? The only Muslim nation on earth armed with nuclear weapons, enmeshed in primitive Islamic fundamentalist/tribal rivalries. I have no idea how that is going to work out for those two nations, or the world. What I am sure of though is that western troops will not be the solution.
Besides, the real threat is not from the Taliban returning Afghanistan to the 12th century -- again. The real threat is that Pakistan will fall into chaos and Islamo-nuts will get their hands of those nukes. I am not suggesting we attack anyone else in that area but, since we were determined to attack someone post-9/11 we probably should have attacked Pakistan. We could have dismantled their nuclear programs, making it clear to countries like Iran that we are serious about non-proliferation. And we could have also deprived al Qaida and the Taliban the support of Pakistan's army and their sanctuaries in the remote tribal regions along the Afghan border.
Anyway, all that's water under the Bush. When some fool stirs up a hornet nest you get clear until they settle down. If I could pick an inscription for Gen. George Custer's tombstone it would be, "He stayed the course!"
I once felt some concern for the peoples of these trouble regions, especially Muslim women who are treated in ways that curdle the blood. But I'm so over that. Now I just want our troops out of there. Let the various feuding parties feud until one side or the other emerges the winner, then deal with the winner.
Oh, one more thing. When the Bush administration starts pulling troops out of Iraq before the 2008 elections, remember -- Only Democrats cut and run. Republicans "redeploy."
September 12, 2006
Sing it Again
We've all witnessed it, and it's a sad, sad sight. I'm talking about the singer who, at one point in his performing life beat the odds and had a song skyrocket to the top of the charts. One-time hits are almost always one of those odd, even annoying tunes that have lyrics that get stuck in your head and drive you nuts.
But that was it for the singer. He had no more hits. From there on it was a career stuck in the mud of mediocrity, shrinking respect, shrinking adoration, shrinking audiences, shrinking influence in his profession.
Often a one-hit artists can't let go when it's over. Instead he keeps singing his single hit, and sings it and sings it and sings it, egged on by a small clutch of groupies who loved him when he was on top and love him still.
“Sing it again, George,” they plead, “Sing it again. You know, the one about 9/11. I so love the part where you sing, 'they can run but can't hide.' And the part about how we will win and they will lose. Sing it again George.”
And so Boy George sang it again last night. His one-time hit. His only hit. He sang it again, as he always does, with the hope it would rekindle his only moment of fame. He sang it one more time, hoping as he always does that it might put him back on top once again.
The only trouble is the words of Boy George's old hit are now out of sync with reality:
“They” did run.
"They” did hide.
We have not found "them."
We have not “won”
And “they” have not lost.
In fact, in growing areas of Iraq and Afghanistan, they are actually winning.
Talk about a tune going sour! From the first time Boy George belted out his patriotic hit to now, nearly 3000 American soldiers have been killed. Then there's the 138,000 Iraqi civilians killed as well. (Even Saddam would have been embarrassed by such an appalling kill rate.)
We know that Boy George can read the charts. He's gotta know that his tune fell off the bottom of those charts months ago. And it must be particularly grating to him that the central villain of his old hit tune, Osama bin Diddy, now has his own hit tune, “Death to America.” And, unlike Boy George's old hit, Osama's tune tops the charts in his part of the world. In fact it's so popular now that Osama records new versions on nearly a monthly basis now.
Nevertheless, Boy George belted out his old hit for one more time last night – unrequested. When has-been singers start performing their old hits unrequested you gotta know the end is near – or at least should be. Won't someone, sooner or later, just stride onto the stage, put his arm around the guy's should, tell him, "Come on George. It's over son," and lead him off in mid-tune? If Barry Goldwater were still alive and in office he'd do it. He did it once before when he broke the news to Richard Nixon that no one was listening any longer. That it was time to go.
Is there anyone in the GOP today who cares as much about our nation and democracy as Goldwater did almost 40 years ago? Someone who will go up to Boy George the next time he cues up music for his old hit, “You're Either With Us or Against Us,” and just pulls the plug?
Clearly the answer is no. Which means we have two more years of Boy George's faded ditty, which he will continue belting out unrequested, at inappropriate moments and with the volume too high.
Does he know almost no one is listening any longer? It's hard to say what Boy George actually “knows” because, like so many washed up stars, he's surrounded by hangers on, folks who benefited from their boys' one-time glory. So they buck him up, tell him he's still a star, still loved. He's been their meal ticket, their only meal ticket, and they are not about to let go -- because they have no place else to go.
Still it's clear that most who watched Boy George's performance last night know he's washed up. He can sing that old tune as often and as loud as he wants, and it's not going to reverse his fortunes or the fortunes of those around him.
In fact the next, and only standing ovation for Boy George will come the day the announcer proclaims:
“George has left the building.”
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Drama Queen Americans
I've never been accused of being a sentimentalist. I”m a “move-on” kinda guy when it comes to bad things. I deal with the mess and move on. I don't dwell. Because, as my mother used to say when I had a scraped knee, “Stop picking at that or it will never heal.”
But we've become a nation that picks at things that never heal.
Which I suppose is why I'm so turned off by all this 5-year anniversary 9/11 coverage. I don't know about you but I moved on four years ago.
Is it just me, or have Americans become the Mothers of All Drama Queens?
It's not just 9/11 “remembrances.” If it were I could chalk it up as some kind of mass post traumatic stress syndrome. But we make a big deal out of just about anything nasty that happens these days. And we are raising an entire generation of kids now that think that every time something bad happens to them, near them or comes to their attention requires a trip to a “grief counselor.”
When kids see or hear about something out of the normal happening they look to the adults in their lives to know how they should feel about it. The bigger the deal the adults make about it, the bigger the deal the kids make about it.
How many of us lost someone in our class in an auto accident during high school? Most of us I would imagine. When that happened at my all-male Catholic high school there would be a Mass in the auditorium. Then the next day the good fathers didn't use the tragedy as an Oprah moment but but as a teaching tool. “Drive fast, drink and drive and you'll get your young butts killed, fellas. Got it? Now, turn to page 154 in your algebra text... and Mr. Pizzo, sit up straight and at least pretend you are paying attention...”
Half a century ago, when I was kid, no one bundled us off to grief counseling when tragedy struck near. Death is one of life's most enduring realities. None of us get out alive. And, not only adults die. Kids die too. When a classmate met an untimely end class went on. Life went on. And we tykes moved on with normal childhoods, unmolested by the “how-do-you-feel-about-that.” folks. No one clued us in that there was an “therapeutic” alternative to going back to playing dodge ball, running, laughing, living.
I'm not saying kids never need counseling. Victims of abuse, or who personally witness something even an adult would have trouble handling, certainly should be counseled. No, I'm talking about the kind of things that occur, have occurred and will occur a part and parcel of simply being human.
Which brings me back to 9/11. Was it awful? You bet. It was a crime – the premeditated murder on a scale not seen since Pol Pot and his troops lined up and shot as many as 3 million fellow Cambodians. Before that we had Satlin's murder of “tens of millions” of his own citizens. Hitler preceded Stalin and ... oh hell, we can stop right there because virtually every generation of humans have had their mass murderer(s).
On 9/11 about 3000 innocents were murdered on a single morning. It was televised live. That was new. But that was about all that was new about what happened on 9/11. The rest was “same old, same old,” for the human condition. Humans drop like flies. They are dropping as you read this for reasons that range from murder to mundane.
During 2001 more than twenty times as many Americans, 66,060, died in accidents of various kind. Most were not televised. But the victims of those accidents are just as dead as the 3000 that died on 9/11 and for no good reason either. Most of them also left grieving relatives behind asking why? Every death is a death in the family.
Which is why I ask the politically incorrect question: why are we re-traumatizing Americans with all-channel, 24/7 coverage of the 9/11 attacks? Wouldn't a wreath, two-minutes of silence and a few somber remarks have sufficed? Shouldn't we have moved passed all that angst and anger? Haven't most of us worked our way through the grieving process and moved on? Why did someone hit the rewind button and rekindle the flames from those psychic ashes?
After all, look where all those emotions got us back when they were still fresh. They got us entangled in a tar pit of a war in Iraq. They got nearly 3000 American soldiers killed on fool's errand. And today more Islamic lemmings want to blow us up than on 9/11.
I am not saying someone did not need to get whacked for what happened on 9/11. I am just saying that in the heat of tragedy we forgot the old adage that “revenge is a meal best served cold.” So why not let it cool? Why turn the heat back up under our baser instincts risking more rash decisions that just enlarge the crime and extend the pain?
Forget about it. We are less than two months from an election. If Karl Rove could have things his way, it would be just this way. He wouldn't change a thing. He's got George and Dick out on the hustings telling anyone with a camera or microphone that what happened on 9/11 could happen at any minute of any day again -- and, if voters want to make those odds even worse, go ahead, elect Democrats to Congress.
At the same time that's going on, the media is using airtime today re-traumatizing voters with wall-to-wall coverage of a five-year old news stories. Isn't there any other news going on today? Sure, but you wouldn't know it. (Maybe the cable news channels had placed too big a bet on the JonBenet story and when that fizzled they were stuck with dead air time to fill.)
Talk about doing the failed Bush administration a huge and timely favor. Imagine if this weren't the 5th anniversary and the administration itself were running ads showing footage of the 9/11 attacks. All hell would break loose as they were denounced for “politicizing 9/11.”
But now they get a free ride. All the failed Bushites have to do is hitch their pre-November “Fear and Smear” campaign wagon to CNN and MSNBC's saturation coverage of their 9/11 coverage. It's a marriage made in self-promotion hell. The administration gets to re-scare voters and the media gets to get its rocks off reminding viewers that they were there for them when news happens.
Which is why I am annoyed today. Annoyed, bothered, disgusted, dismayed and depressed. The media now serves up hours of “newsatainment,” and there appears no turning back. I don't know which came first, the drama queens or a drama queen-enabling media. But here we are and here we will apparently remain – drama hungry gawkers of the drama(s) dejur and wallowers in tragedies past.
I'm troubled. Is there a grief counselor in the house?