Thursday, September 3, 2009

looking in the mirror

Something was on the tip of my brain when I read about the latest outrage (as if anyone paying attention -- on the anniversary of Katrina, with the gruesome milestone of 4,000 Americans lost in Babylon already surpassed -- as if we could be outraged anymore):
Security at the United States Embassy in Afghanistan has been seriously compromised by mismanagement and misbehavior among civilian guards and their supervisors, according to reports by a Congressional subcommittee and a nonprofit oversight organization.

The oversight group’s report said guards worked in a “ ‘Lord of the Flies’ environment,” where they and their supervisors groped and urinated on one another. They cite photographs that suggest guards have drawn Afghans into activities forbidden in a conservative Muslim country.

“Multiple guards say this deviant hazing has created a climate of fear and coercion,” the report said, “with those who declined to participate often ridiculed, humiliated, demoted or even fired.”
It was somewhere in my brain, rolling and rattling around, bit for the moment it was an idea too big to quite articulate.

We like our villains -- I know I do. I'd enjoyed making the problem all about Blackwater/Xe -- but that was moot, now that another private contractor has shown its employees to be craven schoolboys with guns.

Maybe, I thought, we could blame outsourcing of government work; but we know that regular soldiers commit atrocities, too.

That thing, that thought rolling around in my head rolled a bit closer to the tip of my tongue: maybe it wasn't that we'd found the wrong villain. Maybe the problem is that we were looking for a villain at all.

And there it was: maybe the point was that when you take the madness of war and occupation, add isolation, and remove any familiar signposts, maybe this is what happens to any of us.
But then, just as I had found the words, with the proper syntax and punctuation, I found that Tom Tomorrow had already found a way to say it better than I ever could.

No comments:

Post a Comment