October 4, 2006

Notes From the Luxury War

In several interviews this year, including one in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) and another on NPR, Major General John Batiste has noted the following about the manner in which the Iraq War impacts life in the United States:
It shocked me that the country was not mobilized for war," he says. "It was almost surreal." For some Americans, "the only time they think about the war is when they decide what color magnet ribbon to put on the back of their car.
A seemingly innocuous piece of low-cost automobile adornment, the "Support Our Troops" magnet is, for many Americans who backed it, their sole concession to our invasion and occupation of another nation. As such, it is a hallmark of the hypocrisy that has permitted the deaths of more than 2,700 U.S. service people since the beginning of the invasion, and the wounding of nearly 21,000, while the homefront carries on as if that were both normal and acceptable. It is the symbol of crass indifference that has allowed the killing of more than 48,000 Iraqis - almost all civilians - to pass with so little impact within our borders. And it is the emblem of the self-centered detachment that has empowered George W. Bush to wreak havoc on everything for which the United States is supposed to stand.

The conflict in Iraq is one that significantly affects only those Americans who are in the armed forces themselves, or who have a family member serving in the military. The public's fundamental insulation and disconnection from the horrific impact of war is the foundation upon which a "pre-emptive" invasion was built, and which makes the continued mismanagement of the occupation possible.

It is a luxury war.

But perhaps there is hope. The United States is threatening to cut off funding for Iraq's police force because of its failure to punish people responsible for torture. Now that basic human rights are no longer sanctified in this country, it might only be a matter of time before the Bush Administration itself is found guilt of violating the Leahy Law. (Of course, the Leahy Law is only designed to target foreign violations of human rights, so this is probably wishful thinking of the thinnest kind.)

In any case, to honor apathetic America, the following are presented: The first is Sunday's Opus by the legendary Berkely Breathed; the second is a video from Austin's Asylum Street Spankers. (Note: The content of the video is for mature audiences.)

[Click on image for larger view]
Opus: Sunday, October 1, 2006© 2006, Berkely Breathed

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