Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Blogaround 

So we meet again...

  • Natalie chimes in on the Head Start Discrimination Act.
  • archy hopes you can help out a friend -- Shakespeare's Sister needs a hand.
  • Bark Bark Woof Woof wonders where the brains have gone.
  • blogAmY bids you to help save the Endangered Species Act.
  • bloggg reminds us of the basics.
  • Chris on his personal experience with the banned books list.
  • Collective Sigh croons for The Hammer.
  • CorrenteWire wonders where the money for the armor went.
  • Dodecahedron on Bush the Socialist.
  • NTodd gets in touch with his gay side.
  • Echidne on Democratic Party discipline and other myths.
  • firedoglake on Judy Miller getting out of jail.
  • First Draft gaggles the Roberts confirmation.
  • The Fulcrum on the Army porn scandal.
  • Happy Furry Puppy on the Abu Gharib pictures.
  • iddybud on the invisible poor.
  • Left Is Right has some fun games to play.
  • Liberty Street on the righties' take on DeLay's indictment.
  • Make Me A Commentator on other scandals not making the headlines.
  • MercuryX23 on the tough choices some kids must make in order to get ahead.
  • Michael has a little list.
  • Pen-Elayne on the meaning of words like "banned" and "censorship."
  • Rook's Rant has a new story at The Practical Press.
  • rubber hose wonders if gender matters when you blow yourself up.
  • Science and Politics does his own blogaround in the Carolinas.
  • Scrutiny Hooligans relays a message to all you righties who are upset about Tom DeLay's indictment and threaten retribution.
  • Sooner Thought on getting Native Americans to run for office.
  • Speedkill on Ann Coulter getting busted for complimenting a liberal.
  • Steve Gilliard knows that Judy Miller told Scooter.
  • T. Rex remembers ethics.
  • The Countess reviews some new sci-fi TV.
  • The Invisible Library notes that November is National Novel Writing Month. (For me, every month is Novel Writing Month.)
  • Wanda on the sale of the century.
  • WTF Is It Now? reports from inside the White House.
  • The Yellow Doggerel Democrat warns that the Vegans are coming.
  • ...You Are A Tree pays homage to a band who pays homage to Jack Kerouac.

    To quote the immortal Karl Haas: have a good weekend.

    Cross-posted -- as always -- from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

  • Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    Death Porn 

    The liberal blogosphere is abuzz over a story that it seems the main-stream media are ignoring: soldiers in the Mid-East theater of operations are trading photos of themselves with dead Iraqis or pieces thereof for access to an amateur porn site (no link from me). The military has given some rather wishy-washy answers about whether or not this is legal. Two blogs that I read frequently have some excellent posts: Blonde Sense and AmericaBlog. Lots of others are writing about it as well.

    My interest in this subject has a very different tack than these other bloggers. As an ex-soldier, I have some insight into at least part of what's going on here.

    It's a well known phenomenon in military history that governments, societies and military leaders take great pains to dehumanize their enemies. This is a necessary psychological step prior to and during wars; citizen-soldiers have to be given a reason to overcome their ingrained aversion to killing fellow humans. Without this important step armies could not function during wartime. With the rise of what some term the "professional army," taken from volunteers as opposed to draftees, and the expansion of our "national interests" to far corners of the globe for extended periods we see the rise of a perpetual dehumanization of the enemy-of-the-day. It's not too hard to imagine this animus extending to everyone "not us," to all non-Americans. Everyone outside our borders has become "them."

    What we're seeing in events like Abu Graib, the developing story on more abuses by the 82nd Airborne Division and this story are all a result of the dehumanization of our current foes.

    Are any of these things "right," whatever that means? No. I don't think anyone would claim that they are (except a few extreme-right-wingnuts). But perhaps instead of "is it right?" we should be asking another question. It's not an easy question to ask and it's even harder to answer - in fact, no answer will be completely satisfactory to anyone. And perhaps that ambiguity itself has a lesson to teach us about the things we do as humans, as a society. The answer could help illuminate our path forward in the post-Cold War era.

    So what is that question?

    Are we willing to accept the results of the necessary dehumanization of our "enemies" in order to effect our national policies?
    I'll be very interested to read your responses.

    Cross-posted from The Fulcrum.