"One's first step in wisdom is to question everything--and one's last is to come to terms with everything." ~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Abu Ghraib of Our Dreams
I dreamt of Abu Ghraib and the house of horrors committed by our armed forces. I saw in the night those barbarous acts under the direction of our commander-in-chief. I considered the responsibility of the White House for such grotesque acts because I remember that a commander is responsible for the actions of his troops. Far from being a singular act of violence and humiliation, I see nothing but a program of systematic torture and abuse spread throughout the string of prisons around the globe, manned by our boys and girls in uniform.
I have also seen our American Government take control over the lives and destinies of hapless Iraqis and Afghans who were born with the same God-given rights to freedom of speech, association and self-governance. Our Government boastfully screams from her beastly lungs that we must stop Terror at all costs, and in so doing terrorize others in the process. This is just another state program based on an insidious state answer, costing us our wealth and freedom.
I have heard over and over from nationalistic Americans that I must either love America or leave it. Well, I love America just fine and I have no plans to leave the property I own. Yet I love my freedom and the lives of my next door neighbors much more. It is the wicked government that sits on the banks of the Potomac that I have a problem with.
Loving America should not be some blind fanaticism to trust and obey politicians in power or to follow them to the depths of Hades like witless lemmings. Loving America is not bowing down to the labyrinth of tyrannical laws that choke the living life out of us ' laws which make a submissive people cry out for answers instead of a free people providing our own.
Do I love America because its geographical boundaries extend to the west coast, to the beaches of Hawaii or the icy plains of Alaska ? Is there some mystical, superstitious power to the American flag or its map that would make me swell with pride when I think of how powerful our military is, how boastful our exploits, how bloody our conquests? Perhaps I would also puff with pride for the hundred and more military bases stationed across the world extending the taut line of imperialism to mind-stretching lengths . . . .
The American flag is a majestic piece of cloth carried into battle too many times to count--most often for the service of Conquest than the privilege of Liberty . The British Union Jack once symbolized a kingdom claiming political balance by throwing parliament's wiles against the ambitions of the king. But soon enough the legislative and royal wolves sat down and parlayed to devour the sheep that were Englishmen. 'For king and country,' they would shout with the arrogance and ambitions of men, while God stirred deep in the hearts of colonists the truth and justice of freedom. America is now no different from England .
How difficult it must have been for peasants and millworkers, farmers and store clerks to take up muskets and destroy the very flag that was their heritage, their Old Glory and their Empire! They too realized the Union Jack was just a flag. It now stood for the diabolical machinations of tyranny, not the protection or the advocacy of English rights.
But I have dreamt a dark storm brewing on the horizon of my children's political future. It is a frightening, most disturbing prospect as I see the beast of American Government bear her fangs, showing her true nature. She would claim no master and easily take down countrymen who stood in her path. It matters little whether a neoconservative or liberal takes the helm of that Potomac destroyer, for the dream has taken over, and all I see is the inside bowels of the Abu Ghraib prison.
For those who think it could not happen ' for those who thought they could play with the fire of government power, wielding their wishes, opinions, fundings and moral values upon others with brute force ' now they have come to taste the dark blood of our father's sins. Well, drink deep and see to what low depths you have fallen, O mighty America ! For the curtain is pulled back and we see Nazis and the Communists right in our midst. Totalitarians and Despots controlling the switches--our people asleep and enslaved.
The truth is that we lost the Second World War. All the armies of Hitler and Stalin destroyed equaled no comparison to the collectivist upheaval of our country. We lost the Cold War. The Kruschevs and the Gorbachevs gutted our natural desire for self-governance and replaced it with the perestroika of domination. Everything that we supposedly opposed, we have become. All the terrors and propaganda fed to American taxpayers have wound up in our hearths and homes. No army marched on Washington to destroy our Constitution. But the federal army marches upon foreign lands and lights Waco fires on our soil to remind us who is Master of the realm. We are now a desperate people, looking for anyone else in the world to blame other than ourselves.
We attack the French and Germans and call them cowards for not joining us in the rape of Iraq . We laud the British and Australians for forcibly sending their young men to die and get hurt in our filthy trenches, drowned in rivers of greed. We dehumanize the people of Iraq and Afghanistan into pitiless thieves and terrorists. Albeit ignorantly and under religious fanaticism, they nonetheless fight for freedom from a brutal oppressor committing war crimes with cluster bombs and uranium shells.
But we have the flag! The red, white and blue flies high over the masts of our hearts and covers all the atrocities, the napalm, the atomic bombs and the bomblets blowing children's limbs off. Yes, we must wrap ourselves tight in our blood-stained banner, for it no longer waves over the land of the free and the home of the brave ' but it cocoons us from our own evils and the murder of human beings made in the image of God.
For a short time, my fellow Americans also saw my dream and had their eyes opened to the evil of the sexual humiliation behind prison walls, the physical torture of human beings. They saw the pictures in the Washington Post, splashed over the screens of CBS. Electric wires attached to genitals. Dark hoods covering the faces of men turned into animals. American uniforms and muscles proudly bearing the flag that took taxi drivers and shop merchants into dark cells ' having been drafted into a sadomasochistic theatre of false imprisonment and tortuous molestation.
But that dream did not last. It dissipated like smoke from the guns of our carriers when the untimely appearance of the Berg beheading took over our concentration. The anger and the shock of Americans seeing our schoolchildren and Sunday School kids growing up to be Nazi henchmen and torturers made us toss our cookies. But the video distraction, that took our eyes away from the reality we did not want, made us justify and rationalize the horrors we had committed.
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity equate the sexual abuse of Arab plebeians as nothing less than a fraternity prank and our brave soldiers blowing off steam. Perhaps, these neoconservatives who so readily wrap themselves in the Constitution would remember that abusing anyone's rights is a terrible injustice, whether a beheading, hazing or rape.
Although the Arab world condemned the beheading of Nick Berg, the American media machine and the politicos in clown suits screamed bloody murder and pointed the finger at Al-Qaeda. The rumors started flying around that even Saddam's own nephew was involved in the murder. All this from the trained eye of CIA officials and newsroom lackeys who now can spot an Iraqi under any turban. Never mind that the horribly edited and choppy video shows Berg on a white chair, in an orange jumpsuit in front of a cream colored wall--items eerily similar to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons.
The timing was impeccable. Senators had just reviewed hundreds of additional photos, only hinting at even further grotesque acts committed upon poor souls. Forced masturbation by women soldiers. Sodomy on prisoners using batons. Trained dogs forced upon prisoners. Stress positions hours on end. Near drownings to psych the sub-humans.
Never in my dreams did I ever imagine that the America of G.I. Joe and Rocky IV, of Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen would become the nightmare we had sought to end. Instead of learning from the ex-soldier we knew as Rambo, we instead became like the VietCong torturers who racked his body and soul.
We no longer have a distinguished voice to speak to the world community about freedom and democracy. The sham has been revealed. The lies are now exposed. The neoconservative dream is nothing but raw imperialism, resource control and population decimation. If this is the flag of America that proudly waves over such atrocities, how can my heart obey it, or answer its call for the sacrifice of my life and my children? No, it must be raw Freedom, like a cleansing river, that must wash over all of our nationalistic fantasies and our deviant lusts for glory and power.
The Roman emperors now heave and toss beneath their ancient graves desiring the wealth and power of the American Government. The potential to become even a greater totalitarian Super-State than Rome herself.
But I cannot salute the system and regime of men and princes who build their brothel of lies upon the blood of innocents. Not while they force our young boys into unwanted battles and fund their campaigns with our sweat and our toil.
It is America that I pray for, but it is our Government that I denounce. I cannot salute Caesar or his flag, and I will not. I pray that God would wake my countrymen from their dreams and unto the cry for Liberty .