Tuesday, March 01, 2005

HoustonChronicle.com - Iraq's human rights abuses detailed

Ah, the sweet smell of newly minted democracy.

I got a call the other day from a woman, a mother of a soldier, one of many who have called with a similar idea. "I want to publish his letters," they always say. "They are doing a lot of good over there."

I buy that most of the soldiers are, in fact, doing good over there. But violence, war in general, warps peoples minds. The unacceptable becomes acceptable. The disturbing becomes normal. And then you get this.

The new Iraqi government has what even the Bush administration admits are "serious problems." In short, people in high places are still pulling the same kind of stuff that Sadaam did. Only this time, the U.S. is not just ignoring, not just tolerating but actively supporting and constructing a government that systematically tortures, rapes and illegally detains its own people.

If the U.S. government becomes at all proactive about these crimes, I will be as surprised as anyone. But I think they have bigger fish to fry right now and I am sadly more inclined to think that this behavior will be largely ignored, and will escalate once U.S. troops start to leave. Because this was never about the well-being of the Iraqis. This is about something bigger and greedier and uglier. This is about those permanent . . . or rather "enduring" in Luntz-speak . . . military bases. This is about the grand neocon plan to resurface the Middle East so we have every last drop of oil possible . . . This is no longer tinfoil-hat territory.

On a lighter note (could it get much darker?) it looks like Ron Jeremy is going to be giving a talk at Oxford. I think it's pretty nutty how porn is so mainstream right now. I guess in a way it is a good thing, as the more "out" an industry is, the more regulated it can be. And the less baggage people begin to associate with it. But I still don't care much for the way porn stars have eroded the women's movement. Being comfortable with one's sexuality is one thing, being sexually adventurous is one thing, but the kinds of sicko ideals that porn women are subjected to is still unsettling, and not at all liberating. When I met Annie Sprinkle, she came across as an artistic but deeply screwed-up woman, with a bit of an identity crisis.

On the other hand, I have always found Christian porn addiction sites to be extremely funny. I think that if a Christian guy is addicted to porn, it's more of a symptom of a problem than a problem within itself. But if you check out these sites, the "recovery" stories are pretty funny. However, the underlying issue always seems to be that the women in their lives have failed to be diligent and have allowed their men to "fall" under their care. The Christian male/female relationship is so weird- Men are supposed to think for their women, to act as their head, but when the man messes up royally, it is still the woman's fault.

At any rate, in four short days I'll be winging my way off to New York, so I'll try to get as much blogging in as possible between now and then. Until next time . . .


  1. When/where/for how long will you be in New York?

    Hopefully the weather will improve a little...

  2. Hi, Alex! Welcome!
    I'll be on the upper West Side Sat. through Weds. I'm anticipating having to pack pretty heavy for snowy conditions . . . but I think I still have a bit of the Iowa internal thermostat so I should be OK.

    Can you think of a good place to duck in for decent hot soup, just in case?

  3. Well, I'm on the opposite side of the island, so I can't say too much about what to see/do on the UWS. I could recommend a little french cafe in SoHo, but that's a bit of a trek for a cup of weather-counteracting soup.

    And speaking of the weather, don't pack for snow so much as slush. It'll be warm enough to make the sidewalks and streets into lagoons, so wear your rubbers.

    I don't know if you're visiting friends/family, but there ought to be a couple good shows this weekend (Clem Snide or Shonen Knife on Saturday).

  4. Depends how far up you'll be on the Upper West Side, but there are no shortage of places for a good hot something. If you're as far north as 106th St, there's a soup cafe adjacent to a Ben and Jerry's.