Through The Fog, Darkly
All in all, it has been a not very good week across the American
On a personal front, I have been struggling with a bit of
bronchitis, which I had been trying to ignore until my attorney,
Mary Ann Zimmer, decided to be both motherly and authoritarian,
and made me promise to phone my doctor, which I did, who upon
hearing me, prescribed an anti-biotic. Like many Americans
this winter, I have been struggling with some kind of minor
disease which, while not flattening me, has never quite allowed
me out of its thrall, thus resulting feeling as if my brain
and I are living in a slightly different dimension from the
rest of the world.
It has been as if everything and everyone is a little distance
away from me, separated from me by a light green fog.
Thus it almost seemed to me that the events of this week
were surreal that those pictures out of Iraq were really
just part of the active dream life triggered by my low grade
fever and not actually what was happening.
Unfortunately, reality hit me around Wednesday that those
pictures were not a fevered dream but an ice cold embarrassment,
a brutal shock to the American system and sensibility. The
pride of our country, our citizen soldiers, were caught on
film abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners in Saddams
most infamous prison, Abu Ghraib, the one which we liberated,
Between bronchial hacks and nose blows, I pounded out an
e-letter to the White House asking Mr. Bush to get his ass
on Arab television and say Im sorry on behalf of all
of us. He did go on Arab television but never got around to
saying Im sorry. Obviously, my letter did not get to
the President in time.
I am adult enough to understand that war time is always a
complex time and that no matter how hard you try; something
is going to go wrong. But it certainly had not been my expectation
that it would go this wrong in this way.
We rode into Iraq on a self-righteous horse and have managed
to ride it into a disaster of our own making, out of our own
stupidity. We claimed a righteous purpose in liberating Iraq
and in claiming it, needed to live up to it. That should have
been part of the occupation plan.
Apparently the word did not get out or down to certain troops.
I have found myself watching Rumsfield ruminate, appearing
more annoyed at being asked to explain than regretful or apologetic
about what he had to explain.
I feel my officials are prevaricating.
All this prevaricating and ruminating is just additional
evidence that this MBA driven administration didnt pay
attention in its management classes nor learned one of the
fundamentals of American politics.
Mistakes can be made; just live up to them.
The last half of the 20th Century was pockmarked by Presidents
who failed to accept responsibility and found themselves in
a fine kettle of fish. Nixon was one; Clinton
was another. Reagan bungled Iran Contra but stood up and said,
I accept responsibility. Because he did, he got
off lightly. Because they didnt, Nixon and Clinton suffered
humiliation, one losing the Presidency and the other coming
Following our governments messy handling of the worst
public relations situation we could have in Iraq, news broke
that Disney is refusing to allow Miramax to distribute Michael
Moores new film, Fahrenheit 911, which promises
to be critical of the President.
Im not a particular fan of Mr. Moore. But, last I looked,
we still had freedom of the press in the U.S. and whether
or not Mr. Moore criticizes the President is not really important.
He has that right and Miramax, a unit of Disney, should be
allowed to distribute the film.
Next year I will be sure to vote my Disney shares against
So, as I write this, the sour taste in my mouth is not the
result of sinuses draining but of the bilious response of
my body to events in the world about which I have strong feelings
but limited influence.