Sunday, June 5, 2005

Absurd And Offensive

Counterpunch has a fine piece by Gary Leupp in which the author deconstructs the absurd and offensive pseudo-counter-arguments put forth recently by the two absurd and offensive men who front an absurd and offensive administration.

We've spoken of these things on more than one occasion, and recently your nearly frozen blogger may have gone a bit overboard, referring to these absurd and offensive men as "half-wit" and "big dick". Meanwhile, elsewhere, Gary Leupp was taking a different tack...
"Peddling Lies About How They Were Mistreated"
"Diassembling" the "Absurd" Amnesty International Report
by Gary Leupp
"I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world [We have] investigated every single complaint against [sic] the detainees It seemed like [Amnesty International] based some of their decisions on the word and allegations by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people had been trained in some instances to disassemble [sic] that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is."

President George W. Bush, press conference, May 31
"For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously. Frankly, I was offended by it. I think the fact of the matter is, the United States has done more to advance the cause of freedom, has liberated more people from tyranny over the course of the 20th century and up to the present day than any other nation in the history of the world [I]f you trace [abuse allegations] back, in nearly every case, it turns out to come from somebody who has been inside and been released to their home country and now are peddling lies about how they were treated."

Vice President Dick Cheney, May 30 CNN interview with Larry King
Those of us in the reality-based community are not inclined to dismiss an Amnesty International report out of hand. I myself am sometimes disappointed with AI, especially when they accuse certain organizations I respect of human rights violations on a par with those of the governments they seek to topple. I think it necessary to distinguish between the violence of the oppressed and the violence of the oppressor. One is "political" whether one so distinguishes or not, and AI's politics tends towards the legitimatization of state power over the right to rebel. In any case, the organization does a lot of good work, and I support for example the programs they maintain in our high schools. Only fools would call their reports "absurd," not to be taken seriously.
And so on. Read the whole thing here, courtesy of Thanks to Peg C. at the Brad Blog for this tip.

I have been trying to teach myself to think like Gary Leupp. I want to be calm, rational, eloquent. Instead I am what I am. And when I disassemble this whole absurd and offensive mess, the fragments I am left with are these:

It is absurd that 'my' nation invades foreign countries and starts filling the prisons with people who have in many [or even most] cases done nothing wrong. I am offended that these prisoners are not even called "prisoners" but rather "detainees".

It is absurd that many of the prisoners were sold into captivity. I am deeply offended to think that 'my' country would buy people for the purposes of incarceration and torture.

All the 'explanations' offered by our so-called leaders for why these prisoners are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Accords have been absurd. I am offended that one of the men behind these 'explanations' is now the attorney general of 'my' country.

I hardly recognize 'my' country anymore. The vast and beautiful United States, beacon of freedom and bastion of democracy, has become the vast and hideous land of bush and cheney, where the policies are absurd, and the rhetoric is offensive. Maybe it's time to put a new inscription on the Statue of Liberty, so that all the world can see what kind of country the United States of America has become.
Give me your tired,
so I can hang them from the ceiling.
Give me your poor,
so I can cover them with feces and take pictures.
Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
so I can strip them naked and stack them up in pyramids.
Give me the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
so I can put bags over their heads and chain them to the railings.
For I am America; I am mighty and I am at war;
and my war is endless and all-consuming.
It's absurd. It's offensive. It never should have happened in the first place. And it's about time it stopped. Please help John Conyers.