Just Suppose YOUR Dad Was Involved
I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
- President George H W Bush
Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did, and it never will.
- Frederick Douglass
by Tim Eagan
Source: Funny Times May 2002 © Tim Eagan who may be reached at email@example.com
Orwell's Elephant and the Parading of Qusai and Odai Hussein
by Pierre Tristam
Written when he was 33, "Shooting an Elephant" is George Orwell's first great essay. It describes a morning in small-town Burma, sometime in the mid-1920s, when an elephant goes loose, tramples a bazaar, kills a man and is hunted down by Orwell. He was the town's imperial police chief, a white man thoroughly despised by the locals, as white men tend to be when they lord over the white-not. But he had the guns, the responsibility to keep people safe. Finding the elephant munching on shrubbery, Orwell realises that in spite of having stomped a man to death, the elephant's "attack of 'must' was already passing off." Killing it would be pointless except for a crowd of 2,000, "watching me as they would watch a conjuror about to perform a trick." They wanted their kill.
"And it was at this moment," Orwell writes, "as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man's dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd - seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the 'natives' and so in every crisis he has got to do what the 'natives' expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant."
So he does. The crowd would have laughed him off had he not.
"And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at."
Reading the essay Friday, I couldn't shake a sense of deja vu. Not that I've performed tricks for 2,000 Burmese or played cop in a Myanmarian Mayberry. But what Orwell described read like the script to a more immediate futility: the made-for-television killing and parading of Qusai and Odai Hussein by Iraq's posing dummy of the moment, our very own military.
I'm not suggesting that Odai and Qusai were two munching pachyderms who happened to have trampled an innocent fellow or two. They were sadistic killers, although their resume isn't significantly different from that of a long line of American allies (ask Henry Kissinger). Nor am I suggesting that the US military is inherently dummylike, any more than George Orwell was inherently a dummy. The US military's effectiveness, professionalism and so on are not in dispute. But what the military is about in one place doesn't necessarily follow in another.
Iraq isn't Normandy. The American military isn't spreading Jeffersonian ideals in Iraq. It is being asked to play the role of an imperial policeman, which it is not trained for. That it can shoot an elephant with TOW missiles doesn't change the fact that it is being degraded into a puppet of local circumstances and paying a heavy price for it. The Iraqis wanted Odai and Qusai dead. They wanted their kill. But if Americans think they were doing Iraqis a favour, they misunderstand the nature of the tragic comedy they're involved in, and the extent to which they - Americans - are being played.
To Iraqis, the killings have played out more like an amusement, proof that if Americans are baited, they'll react no less savagely than the savages they claim to be hunting and with the same blindness that mired the United States in Iraq in the first place. There was no reason for the assault on the villa where the two brothers had holed up with another man and a 14-year-old. Short of collective suicide once their arsenal of small arms was spent, they had nowhere to go but court for a true display of war-crime justice, what would have been Iraq's first. (The 14-year-old would presumably have been turned over to Florida's foster-care system for custom-made punishment.)
Instead, the US military carried out a revenge killing different from that of an Iraqi mob only in so far as the choreography looked more high-tech and the costumes looked more professionally tailored. The parade of the two brothers' bodies was the most hypocritical instance of the war yet, after the hollow indignation over the parading of American bodies on television back in April. And the consequence, to soldiers who should be downing beers back in their stateside barracks instead of breathing fear in a hopeless war zone, has been an acceleration of the daily-kill lottery. But Americans in Iraq wanted to impress the natives, remind them at every turn who's their sahib. Never mind that means and ends have nothing to do with each other anymore as hunter and hunted grow alike.
"He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it." Even dead, Odai and Qusai are laughing at the white man.
Source: commondreams.org from Daytona Beach News-Journal Tuesday 29 July 2003 © 2003 News-Journal Corporation
by kilroy_hau User #187226
Presiding over a memorial service commemorating the victims of the attack on the Death Star, the Emperor declared that while recent victories over the Rebel Alliance were "encouraging, the War on Terror is not over yet. "We will continue to fight these terrorists, and the rogue governments who harbor them, until the universe is safe, once and for all, and the security of the Neo-New Cosmik Order ensured."
It was one year ago today that the Death Star, perhaps the greatest symbol of the Empire's might, was destroyed in an attack by fanatic Rebels, who used small, single-person crafts to infiltrate seemingly impenetrable defenses. Thousands of mourners were on hand to remember and pay tribute to the victims and their families. "We lost our innocence that day," reflected one mourner. "I guess we thought we were immune from the kind of violence that happens in other galaxies. We were wrong."
"I lost hundreds of buddies that day," said one teary-eyed Stormtrooper. "Guys whose only crime was trying make the Universe a safer place." Although the day was coloured by sadness, the mourners found some relief in the news of a decisive victory over the Rebels.
In an attack led by Darth Vader, Empire forces were able to rout hundreds of Rebels from a network of caves underneath the surface of the planet Hoth. "We're not sure we got them all," says a Vader spokesman. "There are a lot of places to hide in those caves. But we've delivered powerful blow to the terrorist's infrastructure, that's for sure. Today, the Empire has struck back."
Initial reports are unclear as to the fate of Luke Skywalker, a hero among the Rebels, who is rumoured to have delivered the fatal blow to the Death Star. Skywalker, a former desert-dweller from the planet Tattooine, became a part of the Rebellion after family members were killed. Skywalker was trained by a militant wing of the Rebels, known as "Jedi Knights." Fanatical in their religious beliefs, the Jedi Knights claim to derive their power from the mystical "Force."
It's believed that Skywalker was specifically trained by infamous terrorist O bin Wankanobi. Wankanobi, occasionally called "Ben" and easily recognised by his bearded visage and long, flowing robes, achieved near-martyr status among the Rebels after his death last year during a spy mission. His more fervent followers believe that Wankanobi lives on within them today, some even claiming to hear his voice during times of duress.
The attack on the Death Star came shortly after the Empire's destruction of Alderstaan, a planet whose government was known to harbour terrorists. Responding to criticism over the total annihilation of the planet, Vader stated, "There is no middle ground in the War on Terror. Those who harbour terrorists are terrorists themselves. Alderaan was issued ample warning. The fight for continuing Freedom is often burdened by terrible cost."
The cost of this war can still be seen today in the continuing efforts to build a coalition government on Tattooine. Longstanding animosities among the planets various ethnic groups, including the Jawas, Tusken Raiders and scattered human settlers, have been an impediment to the peace process. The Empire continues to maintain a small peacekeeping force until a provisional government is finally in place.
Much of the difficulty in fighting the Rebel forces stems from their lack of a central organising structure. "They don't play by the traditional rules of war," complained one spokesman. "They come in all shapes and sizes, united only by their single-minded desire to destroy the Empire before it destroys them." The Emperor closed his comments today by stating that "the cowardly attack on the Death Star left a deep scar on the Empire. However, we will not stop fighting until every last evildoer has been brought to justice." He paused for several moments, wiping away a tear and then added with determination, "We will never forget."
"I wish we could all just get along," said one of the mourners. "But it's hard to offer an olive branch to a cult of religious fanatics whose main tool is violence and who insist on calling us the Dark Side."
Official History (Revised Version)
by Tom Tomorrow
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