A must-read. He writes:
For three years, coalition forces in Iraq behaved so well that a salivating Vietnam culture had to make do with the thinnest of pickings: one depraved jailhouse, a prisoner on a dog leash with a pair of Victoria’s Secret panties on his head and an unusually positioned banana. “Just look at the way U.S. army reservist Lynndie England holds the leash of the naked, bearded Iraqi,” wrote Robert Fisk, the dean of the global media’s Middle Eastern correspondents. “No sadistic movie could outdo the damage of this image. In September 2001, the planes smashed into the buildings; today, Lynndie smashes to pieces our entire morality with just one tug on the leash.”
But now at last the media have their story. They’re off the leash. And, if the worst rumors are true, those 10 Marines will come to symbolize the 99.99 percent of their comrades who every day do great things for the Iraqi and Afghan people. In 2004, in the wake of Abu Ghraib, I wrote that “there is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites — from the deranged former vice president down — want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it’s pain-free, squeaky-clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we’re supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.”
Two years on, it’s even worse. If you examine the assumptions underlying speeches by professors, media grandees, etc., it’s hard not to agree with the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, that these days America can only fight Vietnam, over and over: Every war is “supposed to become a quagmire, which provokes opposition and leads to American withdrawal.” That’s how the nation demonstrates its “moral virtue” — i.e., its parochial self-absorption.
Last week, Cindy Sheehan said in Melbourne that “Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by the war machine in my country.” This week, Bobby’s son, Robert Kennedy Jr., said in Rolling Stone that Bush stole the 2004 election. Next week, it’ll be something else.
But there is more pain and more truth about America in those seven words of Martin Terrazas. A superpower that wallows in paranoia and glorifies self-loathing cannot endure and doesn’t deserve to.
Read the whole thing.