"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper which should have been gold, are a token of honor -- your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money." ~ Ayn Rand
The Few, the One and the Two
As the images of torture and humiliation wrought by American soldiers in Saddam's old prisons spewed forth, our esteemed leader begged the country and world not to judge the U.S. and its military by the actions of a 'few.' The ubiquitous, ugly Few raise their vile heads yet again. Bush's pathetic, bathetic attempt to paint the atrocities as merely an aberration only fueled the frenzy of finger pointing and blame storming. Of course, he was properly outraged over the incidents, typically understating the obvious by deeming them 'abhorrent.' (Careful, Dubya, you risk alienating the crucial Grand Inquisitor voting bloc with such inflammatory statements.) But all of the requisite hand wringing amongst the reprehensatives in Washington and conglomerative media mouths nationwide missed the point--yet again. Blame flew in all directions but one, that of the Oval Office. Bush so cherishes his role as Commander-in-Chief, yet none assign ultimate culpability to him--the military's highest office.
No matter how much comfort the blind American electorate may find in believing only a Few of their heretofore brave men and women of the armed forces are actually immoral, sadistic thugs, they should also know by now Bush fancies himself a 'top down' manager. Blame is subject to gravity. It always rolls downhill. The Few, and likely anyone in their immediate vicinity, will doubtless take the fall. But the One, on whose shoulders the entire sordid mess belongs, will spirit onward, thriving on the largesse of corporate chieftains and willful ignorance of knee-jerk patriots. Every successive excuse offered by the boss for invading a sovereign nation is now rendered utterly spurious. There were no weapons. The alleged al Qaeda link has proven chimerical. Finally, the third act of this immorality play served up cruel, twisted irony of a sort to make O Henry flush with envy. Dubya's ace in the hole, the evil dictator extraction, is marked and trumped by his heroic subordinates' torturing of the very same Iraqi people he had promised to 'free,' in the very same rooms where Saddam's henchman practiced their bloody arts. The legacy of the madman's prisons lives on, under the proud colors of Old Glory.
Bush's most frightening quality, his steadfast belief in his own infallibility, is once again in full regalia. God tells him his cause is right and just, no matter how many innocents are slaughtered by his armies. 'So sorry about killing your family, you see, but freedom isn't free. We are the good guys. We go with God; no matter that a 'few' of us rape, pillage and torture. So sorry about those 'few' who degrade your humanity and culture, but, again, freedom isn't free. I am George Bush; The Almighty guides me. I cannot be wrong--ever.' Somehow this farcical, neo-fascist feeb graduated from Yale. He apparently did so without ever cracking a history book. The list of self-avowed divinely guided leaders is long, littered, and bloody. No matter. Bush, like the great leaders before him, has plenty of subordinate lackeys to whom he can assign culpability. If ultimate responsibility ever threatens the top of the chain, there will still be God to blame.
For now, however, Bush gushes about his superb defense secretary: 'You are courageously leading our nation in the war against terror.' Yes, imagine the courage required to willfully conceal incriminating evidence. 'You're doing a superb job. You are a strong secretary of defense, and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude.' So superb, and so strong, in fact, that your command structure is expressing grave doubts about your leadership. Bush pledges, naturally, for an 'orderly and transparent' investigation. 'One basic difference between democracies and dictatorships is that free countries confront such abuses openly and directly.' Indeed they do. Implicit in that statement is evidence of your theocratic reign. Openness and directness are unequivocally not in your bag of tricks, sir. Perhaps God is indeed looking out for Bush, manifest in the mindless stupor of the American public. Only mass dementia explains his ongoing ability to pass such squalid effluvia off as forthright accountability.
As this piece was composed, more horrific footage emerged. The beheading of a civilian American hostage by hooded demons claming allegiance to al Qaeda is now juxtaposed against the images from Abu Ghraib. We are in the midst of a grisly match of one-upmanship. Two zealots, each assured of the divine rectitude of their hypocritical sanctimony, led us here. And, again, the pusillanimous politicos and puffery pundits will surely miss the point: Bin Laden is a godless heathen. His minions do his bidding. He controls them. They are surely brainwashed. Blame him. Bush is a righteous man. His subordinates do his bidding as they see fit. Don't expect him to control all of them. They are ill trained, inexperienced. Don't blame him. Such a convenient dichotomy. The apologists have already reclaimed the moral high ground. Our barbarism pales in the face of theirs. Their sins against humanity excuse ours. What a relief. We can claim humility and righteousness once again. The vicious cycle continues.
Two men linked and divided by religious fervor are squared off in a senseless, petulant, biblically dimensioned pissing contest. The world trembles. Behold what is wrought by absolute faith.