There is a scene in Casablanca where the Chief of Police is told to close Ricks and he announces to the crowd that he is "Shocked! Shocked that there is gambling going on in this establishment!" This came to mind as I watched our Senators, defense Secretary and others announce how shocked they were that our troops were torturing and abusing prisoners. The little smiles one could detect in the corners of their eyes made me even more aware that they knew the TV cameras were on them. They probably sucked at school plays too.
I don't think we tortured people in WW1, although I know we raped and murdered. I don't think intelligence gathering was part of the ground war all that much and we didn't seem to have as many prisoners in camps. WW2 vets have said that they treated their prisoners almost as good as they treated our privates. In the Korean War, which is still being waged, we did in fact torture, abuse, rape and murder...not only prisoners, but civilians. The Viet Nam War, which we lost, we not only raped, murdered, tortured, pillaged and experimented on our prisoners and local civilians, but our own troops. The pattern continues along to Iraq and the other undeclared wars.
I wonder if the change came about with the Holocaust? Maybe all that video of the camps so impacted our psyche that as a nation we became obsessed with torture and abuse. It penetrated our blood, changed our DNA and was passed on to our children. Look at the games our children play now, look at the PS2 and Xbox games. The newer ones where you drive cars over nuns and babies for points. The games where you can rape and torture for points.
There was an article about a sharpshooter in Iraq. He was talking about going out alone at night with infra-red scopes. He shot people who looked like terrorists. One shot, one corpse was the title of the article. He was being portrayed as a hero, a noble, brave man who was risking his life to save America from terrorists. There was no notice that if a man told you that he goes out at night, hides in the dark and kills people who look like they need killing, you would think that he was a psychotic. Why is that sniper not a psychotic? Because he did it on orders? He still acts like a psycho and enjoys killing people in the dark. When he comes home, if he lives long enough, do you think it not possible that he might have acquired a taste for sneaking out at night killing people who look like bad guys to him?
After WW2 we obsessed about death camps so now he own them. We obsessed about tyrants, so now we are led by them. We obsessed about the decline of moral and ethical values so now we reward degenerates and prosecute "do-gooders". We decry phony elections run by party big shots who buy votes....So now we insist on hackable electronic voting machines which leave no paper trail and are manufactured by a company whose CEO says how important it is that we re-elect the Bush Cheney Regime.
Eventually the country will be run on trillion dollar deficits by psychotic idealogues supported by bloodthirsty military machines to insure the continuance of a system of civilian management which benefits a tiny handful of degenerated failed businessmen who dodged the draft and cheated thru school. Somehow I don't think this is sustainable.
I suppose we could get off the couch, march to Washington and demand our country back, but that would be most inconvenient and interfere with watching the latest Fox porn. On the other hand, if we all just stop it, just stop driving gas guzzling cars, stop supporting our troops by sending them into places that they are unprepared for, stop ignoring our children, stop cheating on our wives, our bosses and our employees..... if we started acting more like Jimmy Stewart and less like Arnold the Terminator....maybe we could start showing our faces in the world view again without feeling just a little bit ashamed and afraid.