1. Fiddling While Rome Burns (Black and White Version):
How bitterly ironic was it to see George W. Bush doing everything he could
to act like the commander-in-chief who was determined to be all over Hurricane
Rita (which struck his home state of Texas) after being non compos mentis
and Missing in Action when the residents of New Orleans (mostly poor and black)
were awash in suffering after Katrina. Where were those Louisiana and Mississippi
National Guard troops hired to defend their states, I wonder?
2. Burnt Flesh:
How bitterly ironic was it that the U.S. military ultimately acknowledged
that it used the very same chemical weapon (white phosphorous) on civilians
during the November, 2004 attack on Fallujah that Saddam Hussein used (when
he had chemical weapons supplied by the U.S.) on the Kurds to put down the
uprising in Kurdistan in 1991.
3. Saddam and Sadism:
How bitterly ironic is it that the U.S. used former Soviet Gulags, Saddam's
torture chambers, and a string of "black sites", such as Poland,
Romania, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to carry out torture on detained "suspects,"
only a few of whom have ever been charged, much less convicted, of anything.
4. Bush and Rove Don't Know Jack:
How ironic was it that Bush and his "Brain" neither of whom served
in combat) would attempt to smear one of the most decorated veterans in Congress,
Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) for suggesting that the U.S. should pull out of Iraq
sooner than later, because a military victory is not possible and the blowback
from Iraq is only bound to increase our risk of future terrorism rather than
5. Reverse Robin Hoodism:
How ironic was it to see the Congress cutting $50 billion in programs for
the poor in order to redistribute yet another $70 billion to the richest Americans.
Now that's keeping the Christ in Christmas, isn't it? As Robert Reich pointed
out in a recent column, the religious right fights tooth-and-nail against
Darwinism while it embraces a far more perverse doctrine, "social Darwinism,"
(which was the brainchild of Herbert Spencer) to justify its economic redistribution
from the poor to the rich. For the record, Charles Darwin was buried in Westminster
Abbey, so the church fathers then were more enlightened than the likes of
Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and James Dobson.
6. So Many Children Left Behind:
How ironic is it that the U.S. is one of only two countries which have not
signed the treaty on the rights of the child (the other being Somalia!) Oh,
the company we keep! And not only do we execute the more of its citizens than
any country on the planet, but we execute minors and mentally handicapped
people. Our infant mortality rate ranks 24th out of 29 developed nations.
7. Barbarians at the Gate:
How ironic is it that more than 1,000 Americans have been executed since
the restoration of the death penalty in ____? Perhaps even more ironic still
is the recent polls showing that about the same percentage of the population
believes that torture is justified as those who support the death penalty.
And many of these supporters claim to be Christians. The commandment, "Thou
shalt not kill" carries no footnotes in my Bible. And the Gubernator
greeted a clear case of redemption with vengeance. Here again, the U.S. is
in a very small circle of friends who still execute other human beings (whether
or not they're guilty) that includes only China, Vietnam, and Iran. 97% of
all executions occur in these four countries. Oh what faith supporters of
the death penalty have in the infallibility of government, the legal system,
despite all of the counter-evidence.
8. Sometimes a Suspect is Just a Suspect:
How bitterly ironic is it that after almost four years in the limbo of being
disappeared, the U.S. government finally released Jose Padilla. We are reported
to be still holding between 13,000 and 17,500 detainees in Iraq, approximately
400 in Guantanamo, and who knows how many others in Afghanistan or by third-party
countries we use to outsource torture. When interrogations are not designed
to produce evidence for use in a legal case, then torture is simply terrorism.
One wonders whether the reason the many detainees are not being released is
because they may very well tell their stories and expose the lawlessness of
U.S. policies and practices.
9. Torturous Times:
How bitterly ironic was it that George W. Bush (or his dim-witted handlers)
chose Panama for the site of Bush's claim that "We do not torture?"
That the School of the Americas (widely known as the School of Assassins or
the School for Torture) was located in Panama from 1946 to 1984, prior to
moving to Ft. Benning, Georgia. The National Security Archives are teeming
with reports of atrocities committed by the graduates of the SOA. Nice venue,
Dubya. Must have made Daddy proud.
10. Déjà Vu All Over Again:
How bitterly ironic is it that the Bush Administration bottled up the release
(until the 2004 election had concluded) of documents showing that the pretext
for the Vietnam War was faked and hyped just like the Iraq war. Indeed, there
was no aggression by the North Vietnamese against U.S. vessels in the international
waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. And now we learn that King George has defied
the law and dusted off Nixonian tactics for spying on U.S. citizens. If the
country had known either of these things prior to the 2004 election, Dubya
might have been able to take an even longer vacation at the ranch, after all
that hard work of being President!
Dr. Gary Alan Scott is a philosophy professor
at Loyola College in Maryland. He is currently the Director of Loyola's International
Nachbahr Huis in Leuven, Belgium. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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