Quick things

1.  You gun nuts are missing the point in what Newscoma’s saying.  So, let me give you the Reader’s Digest version.  Politicians who supported the guns in bars legislation DID NOT consult with their constituents who are bar owners about this piece of legislation.  So, many of them, regardless of their feelings about guns, were shocked and surprised to discover that it’s now legal to carry guns into bars, because they had no idea this was in the works.  If you focus on the whole “but guns…” aspect of this, you are missing what Newscoma is trying to give the state a head’s up on.  Politicians who passed this bill (who cares what the bill is), did not consult with their constituents most affected by the bill.  These constituents have deep pockets.  Even in a bad economy.  And these constituents feel not just neglected by their local politicians, but, in this case, outright disregarded.  She’s sending up a warning signal.  If you guys choose to interpret it as being solely about guns, you will miss the warning.

2.  Liz is back!  Hurray!

3.  Whenever I read something like this, I cannot help but wonder if Huddleston thinks all sexuality works like this.  Is he saying that, if not for his strong personal will and the word of God, he’d be sticking his dick wherever he could?  I mean, I thought the half-naked Red State Update guys on Huddleston’s blog were innocent and funny, but now I’m wondering.

And Yet, It’s Not My Birthday… I Don’t Think…

So, this is weird.  I got a weedwacker for my birthday from my parents yesterday.  And today I got an electronic birthday card from my aunt.

I wonder if I should say anything or if this is some family secret coming to light?  Maybe my birthday really is the 15th.

Or maybe I have one of those birthdays that’s figured not by physical date but by phase of the moon?  I was born under the full moon after the peonies bloomed?

I had thought that the weedwacker just got here when it got here because my dad knew we were desperate for one.

But I will be on the lookout for any other indications of it being my birthday without my knowledge.

Bring the Boys (and Girls) Back Home

There have been two stories out of Iraq this week that have stayed on my mind.  One is that our guys, the folks in our military, don’t have water, so they’ve taken to breaking into places where military contractors store water and stealing it.  I use the term “stealing” loosely because as anyone who follows the war knows, where Halliburton or any of its strangely named clones are concerned, it’s likely that water was supposed to go to the troops in the first place and the contractors were hording it because that’s just the kind of evil asshole thing they do.

But, in essence, what it means is that the troops are openly operating as if not all Americans in Iraq are on their side.  So, not only are the Iraqis in the middle of a civil war we can’t do much about, our troops are running military operations in order to secure supplies against other Americans.  Surely I cannot be the only person in America to stop a little short upon realizing that.  There are no sides in Iraq any more.

That’s what it says to me.  Things over there are so broken that you don’t know who is going to pull guns on whom and for what reason.

The second story hit the internet yesterday.  About how Seymour Hersh is saying that we have tapes of little boys being raped in front of their mothers in Abu Ghraib.  The stories of child-rapes in Abu Ghraib have been around for a long time.  I know we’ve talked about it here.  But the fact that we have tapes that we’re sitting on of it?  Yuck.

But here’s what also stood out for me in what Hersh is saying:

I can tell you some of the personal stories by some of the people who were in these units witnessed this. I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers and so we’re dealing with a enormous massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher [emphasis mine].

In other words, folks who were there and who witnessed what was going on–our soldiers, our fellow Americans–knew it was wrong and reported it in good faith that reporting it, if they could get above the corruption, would end it.  What they did not know was that the corruption was endemic and systemic.  There was no “above” it they could get.  Guards could rape children and we take the tapes, like souvenirs.

Obviously, I’ve never been in the military, but how do you trust your superiors after that?  Raping children in front of their mothers does nothing to “enhance” our interrogation techniques.  It serves no purpose but to destroy the victims and degrade the witnesses.  The second you say, “Hey, these guys are raping kids,” it should end and the rapists, who are now clearly war criminals, should be, at the least, arrested.  That’s not what happened.

The thing is, these things are happening in our name.  No, I know, you don’t support this stuff and I don’t support this stuff.  But America sent these folks over to Iraq and America stood by and cheered as this stuff was going on.  And now?  Now we’re trying to find the right language that will allow us to normalize what happened.  It’s not that we “tortured” people.  We used “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  Except that we stood by while these children were tortured and no one has any questions at all for them.

I was just thinking about how they asked John Yoo if you could crush the testicles of a terrorist’s son in order to get the terrorist to talk and we all thought his answer of “yes” was appalling, but hypothetical.

But our soldiers seem to have been told, though in not so many words, that the rape of a child, even to no end, is fine.

Can you come back from this as a country?

I honestly don’t know.