The right has already begun making asses of themselves over the horrific beheading (of course, there is no other kind) of Nick Berg. I know that conservatives must be tired of being picked on over the last week, but their ghoulishness is really sickening. It’s not just that they are finding a political meaning in a man’s death; so am I. That’s natural, his murder was a political act. What’s disgusting about the current rhetoric is that it’s specifically pitched to make us feel silly for caring about a few harmless sexual abuses and homicides at Abu Ghraib. Listening to the rhetoric, you’d think that Nick Berg was murdered by ANSWER, or by the New York Times editorial board.
Third-place asshole: This worthless blogger, who asks “Where’s the outrage?”–less than three hours, I think, after the story breaks. As if liberals were all saying, “You know, this leaves me cold.” As if liberals were saying anything at all, since we hadn’t even heard about it yet.
What’s more, how can right-wingers (which includes Joe Lieberman) stand to say, “There! See? We’re less evil than Al Qaeda!” Well, of course we are, but Al Qaeda only claims to be moral based on an insane misinterpretation of religion combined with a murderous hate. We claim to be moral based on our commitment to democracy and best intentions. And now a beheading makes us realize that we’re not that bad after all? I’m confused–aren’t liberals supposed to be the big moral relativists?
Second-Place Asshole: Senator Rick Santorum (of course!), who takes the Strengthen Our Moral Resolve angle: “If anyone wants to know what we’re fighting and why we’re fighting this war on terror, this is a good example of it.” Yes, Rick. And the Tet Offensive was a good example of why we were fighting the war in Vietnam.
Look, not for a second would I ever suggest that something this awful could be even remotely justified. But if our actions didn’t justify the murder, they certainly brought it about. Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq when we invaded. If we hadn’t invaded–or if we had at least had some idea what the hell we were doing–they still wouldn’t be there. As it is, this is clear evidence of how we’re basically sending people to their deaths by dumping them into a cauldron of hate and anger that we have no way of ameliorating. The lesson here: we botched the war on terror. I don’t suppose anyone thought the Middle East could be made more of a hell on earth, but you know, we found a way.
Bull Goose Asshole: Senator Pat Roberts, Republican from Kansas. You know, to beat out Santorum, he must have said something pretty bad. And he did: “Seems to me that this [Berg’s murder] underscores, in part at least, the tremendous value of interrogation and better intelligence to prevent atrocities like this.”
You can’t tell me that there isn’t a clear message here: “Don’t rag on our brave interrogators. If they had been allowed to sodomize prisoners as they saw fit, maybe one of them might have known Al Qaeda’s plan to murder a contractor.” It’s the same message we’ve been getting all week: “Just shut up and let us do what we want and it’ll all work out.” Well, fuck that. The sons- and daughters-of-bitches in Abu Ghraib weren’t gathering intelligence–they were enjoying the perks of absolute power. I don’t think that Al Qaeda needed an excuse to murder somebody, but that still isn’t a good reason to give them one.
In any event, things have gotten so Boschesque in Iraq now that I can’t see support for the war continuing for more than a few weeks. I suppose it’s a triumph of the digital age, that it took only a year and a half, rather than four like in Vietnam, for the country to become disillusioned and realize that we’ve killed thousands of innocents and exposed the dark heart of humanity yet again. I’d like it if our next bit of progress could be that we remember this and not go to war next time, but I suppose there will always be that bug in the fucking system.
UPDATE: Here’s a special Asshole Achievement Award for Moral Equivocation, presented to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for the following comments from this MSNBC Article:
But House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, while acknowledging that the materials showed “pretty disgusting sexual acts,” said there was no need for more investigations. “The American system is working,” he said. “… Our enemies are incredibly more evil than what is depicted in the pictures.”
Well, that’s a load off my mind! Just let me know when we become more evil than our enemies. That’s when we’ll need an investigation.