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I'm more afraid of Americans

(Issue #11 - 2004-05-17)
I canít believe it. My low expectations have turned out to be high. There has never been a time in my life that I have been more ashamed to be an American. As critical as I am of the callousness of our leaders and military, even I did not expect the level of cruelty, incompetence and chaos that we have unleashed on the middle east.
I expected torture happened in certain places in the U.S. military. For years, we have run The School of the Americas (http://www.soaw.org/new/) to train the worst of the worst in methods of torture. Still, I thought our army, while brutal, was better trained than this. What the hell were they thinking? They took the most feared prison from Saddam Husseinís regime and did the exact same thing he did: torturing prisoners and holding people for months without charges. Anyone who was truly committed to a free and open society in Iraq would have leveled that prison as one of their first acts.
This administration has constantly amazed me with its stupidity on even those issues that are traditionally the purview of the right wing. They tried to cut troop pay while were at war. AT WAR? Even if itís a war I donít believe in, why cut the already vanishing pay given to the underclass that does our military dirty work for us? Then, they create conditions that guarantee that any American serviceman or woman who is captured in the Iraqi debacle will be tortured. The gross inhumanity of torture aside, this is an issue that should horrify pragmatists in the military. Note the reaction of people like Senator McCain and Colin Powell. I donít like these people, but even they are appalled that the president and Donald Rumsfeld would authorize a policy of torture that would put our troops at risk in this way. (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040524fa_fact)
The whole world has gone crazy. Why would anyone blow themselves up just to hurt other people? Why would anyone make people so desperate that they thought this sort of thing was necessary? Why do we egg them on by broadcasting their messages? I canít believe that every major news outlet made the recent beheading of Nicholas Berg a huge headline story. It wasnít news. People get killed in revolting ways in Iraq all the time and by both sides. There is nothing any less barbaric about crushing someoneís skull with a depleted uranium round from a C-130 gunship half a mile away than there is about sawing off someoneís head with a knife. Both are barbaric, both are appalling, but sadly enough, neither are newsworthy. All that happens when the media makes these images such a big deal is that the terrorists get their message out there: videotape an atrocity and you will get on the news. All it does is make Americans more rabid in their blood lust: look what animals they are Ė load up another case of DU ammo. There are even some good points raised by conspiracy theorists about the actual content of the video.
I canít stand this. I canít believe that my taxes are paying for torture and murder and the effective promotion of terrorism over the entire globe. I am truly embarrassed to be an American. It is the responsibility of the party doing the most killing to stop the killing. The bad guy is the one who is doing the most damage. In Iraq, we have become the bad guy. I want nothing to do with this atrocity, but I am an American. It is humiliating to be associated with such bloodthirsty cowards.

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I'm more afraid of Americans: I, and everyone I know, is becoming clinically depressed about our place in the world as Americans. Have we gone mad?
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