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imperialism & war | prisons & prisoners

America had better change her ways

"Maybe it's time for our country to look at our own moral stature before we go out to change others."
American News, June 01, 2004

When we watched "60 Minutes" and saw the pictures of American troops forcing Iraqi prisoners to do despicable acts in the nude while being photographed, we were appalled.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush are expressing surprise and regret for the behavior of a few "bad apples." As Americans, we don't condone this type of behavior. Right?

I wonder.

Look at the television programs offered on a daily basis. Sex and nudity have become much more acceptable even in prime time programming. Then there is MTV and many other special channels that show much more explicit activities. On the Internet, pornography is easily accessible. Our American culture has become very permissive. Madonna and Brittany Spears are the idols of teens and pre-teens as they strut across the stage scantily dressed. Eight- and 10-year-old girls are wearing clothing exposing their midriff.

Rush Limbaugh, on his radio programs, stated that these Iraqi prisoners "didn't even lose a hangnail, so what harm has this done?" We got our information from them, that's what counts.

Rumsfeld calls the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay enemy combatants, so we are not required to treat them as we would prisoners of war. How are those prisoners in Cuba being treated?

When our permissive American culture is seen in other parts of the world by other cultures, these people do not see these acts the same way as we do. The nudity in front of other people, especially in front of a woman and a camera, was humiliation of a demonic nature to the Iraqi men. The Islamic way of life is not our way of life. Do we have the right to impose our culture unto these people?

Our military personnel come from our American culture. They have grown up with the permissiveness and sexual freedoms displayed here. So why are we so surprised that our troops would do such a thing?

In history, there were other countries who were world leaders. The Romans had a high standard of living and prosperity. They became a permissive society. The Roman Empire was not destroyed by invading armies, but fell from within because of the lifestyle.

This war with Iraq was initiated by the Bush Administration; we were the invaders of a sovereign country. Maybe the people in Iraq do not believe in the same culture we do, but they still are as human as we are and humiliation is very hurtful to any human being.

As the world's only super power, we claim to have a moral high ground and claim we care about human rights. So we feel we must use our status to control any country that does not allow the freedoms and human rights to their people. I did not see anything in those photos of the Iraqi prisoners that made me proud to be an American. Sadly, I was sickened to think that our military personnel would even consider using sexual abuse for any reason. Rumsfeld seems to be pooh-poohing this incident and blaming those few bad apples for the way these prisoners were treated. Where is our moral high ground now?

Maybe it's time for our country to look at our own moral stature before we go out to change others. Most great empires in the world fell from within because they were too busy conquering others and neglected their own people. We had better clean up our own moral and social ills before we start crumbling from within like other empires did.

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I like the subtle falsehoods 01.Jun.2004 15:38

James

"The Romans had a high standard of living and prosperity. They became a permissive society. The Roman Empire was not destroyed by invading armies, but fell from within because of the lifestyle."

Ah, I see your point. Morals and values "declined" in the Roman Empire -- the whole swath of it -- just as they are "declining" in America today. One can infer then that morals are absolute -- as if they were bestowed upon us by some higher being.

The reader should draw the connection that America -- presently at apex -- will face certain "decline" if the "decline" of our morals is not stemmed. This is what happened to the great Roman Empire, after all.

Except it's not true. Not hardly.

The Roman Empire did face attack from invaders. To wit, the Germanic general Odacer overthrew Augustulus Romulus in the 5th century, bringing the entire Western half of the Roman Empire under Germanic control.

It is true that life in Rome had become extravagant, relative to the rest of the world. And perhaps in Rome Proper natural values were more often ignored than elsewhere. (The Colosseum, rampant prostitution, violent crime, and all that). But the primary reason for the collapse of Rome was the loss of the Western empire. Without food and goods from trade with the West, Rome Proper could not maintain itself. Inflation ran rampant and the economy collapsed.

It was economic collapse which finally ruined the Roman Empire, not moral collapse. Please adjust your analogies accordingly.

Tut tut 01.Jun.2004 16:26

Laughing

James,

You seem to be letting the facts get in the way - something the original post, like White House - never lets happen.

"It was economic collapse" 01.Jun.2004 17:16

:-)

comin' up.

Permissiveness? 01.Jun.2004 20:26

George Bender

Humiliation and torture of prisoners in Iraq is not about sex. Like rape in this country, it is about power. Easily available sex doesn't destroy a country, abuse of power does. We not only use power to oppress people in other countries, we do it here. The prosperity of the American upper and middle classes is built on the backs of the 40 percent of Americans who don't make enough to support a family. (The ones who end up in Iraq.) Concentrated power corrupts.

In the 60s we used to say, "make love not war." The idea was that if people were getting enough sex and enjoying themselves they might not be as likely to torment and kill others. I think we still need more sex. Now, however, the problem is not so much American puritanism as the fact that so many men and women cannot stand each other. Perhaps because we're all so obsessed with CONTROL.

If you think our popular culture is oversexed, just try to find a movie to rent that actually turns you on. There is a great lack of inspiration. Hollywood doesn't know how to be erotic. It takes more than a little nudity and a lot of 4 letter words.


how's this for "Moral Stature" (of CRAPitalism) 01.Jun.2004 23:40

Enron Traders Caught On Tape

When a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated:

"Burn, baby, burn. That's a beautiful thing," a trader sang about the massive fire.

"They're f------g taking all the money back from you guys?" complains an Enron employee on the tapes. "All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?"

"Yeah, grandma Millie, man"

"Yeah, now she wants her f------g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her a------ for f------g $250 a megawatt hour."