Monday, January 10, 2005

Abu Ghraib - An OTSD Nightmare

The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos - by News

"If you are going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

In an essay about Abu Ghraib, my friend Swami says, ironically, "...maybe religion isn't much of a factor when you're being beaten and humiliated." Unfortunately, religion is always a factor to extremists prepared to destroy anyone who doesn't believe exactly as they do. To any rational human being -Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist- that kind of thinking is barbaric, as are the acts perpetrated at Abu Ghraib.

But war doesn't foster rational thought or "Christian" behavior -- especially this war. American soldiers are confused, repulsed and endangered by factions of an alien culture whose members commit hideous suicides and homicides for the promise of 72 virgins and Eternal Bliss.

Our fighting men and women know all too well about Sadaam's heinous treatment of his own people in the name of sins against Allah. They're well indoctrinated -from the Top down- with the concept of America Vs The Barbarians, at any cost. And some, when let loose by orders from On High, clearly dissociated from their own humanity in a kind of Ongoing Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There's the real irony: that our dedicated, self-sacrificing, hardworking soldiers, universal defenders of Truth, Freedom and the American Way have been reduced to their own basest instincts under the influence of Bush's Might-Makes-Anything-Right policies -- and by an enemy whose battle cry is Death by Martyrdom. Their military superiors -including their Commander in Chief- have made it known that torture is acceptable behavior in war.

No wonder when faced with members of a fanatical army, many of whose members will blow up their own children in furtherance of The Cause, sadly, horribly, some of our Best and Bravest sink to the lowest common denominator to channel their overwhelming fear and rage.

Should we excuse them? Absolutely not. But we can help them, pray for them, and work to find saner leaders who will seek a higher moral imperative than the Bush Administration's wartime religion of Money, Lies and Torture.

One last ticklish question: what would happen if the horrendous Abu Ghraib pictures had been preceded by even more (if that's possible) hideous images depicting the torture of American and other prisoners in perverted “worship” of Allah? Most ironically, such a scenario would undoubtedly have reinvigorated popular support for Bush’s unholy war.

Because even as observers, we're all suffering from OTSD.

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