Friday, January 11, 2008

I am Iraq or Empathy out of Control

I know it is kind of silly for me to write about these things, war and world politics. I should just post "pictures of pets up close with a wide angle lens." There really is little of value beyond my own catharsis and venting of the rage. So if you are unlucky enough to have ended up here you may be excused and the wife has the valuable kitten photos over at her site. They are cute except when they bring shrews into your room at night.

I read Glen Greenwald every day at I am usually with him 90% of the time, so we know he is smart! Today I read his post and viewed the accompanying videos. It is nothing I don't already know about the situation in Iraq, but I found it more depressing than usual.
The reason we basically block out from our public discourse the effects our behavior has on innocent human beings -- the reason, for instance, we don't bother to count Iraqi victims and the reason we exempt our own behavior from any sort of scrutiny other than the most self-absorbed -- is because that's the only way that the propaganda can be sustained ("Freedom is on the March. We're Liberating Them. They're so Grateful. Winning Hearts and Minds"). Is there anyone who could make a list of all of the pros and cons from our invasion of Iraq and -- while including the hundreds of thousands of innocent dead human beings and the 4 million who are displaced -- argue that it was worth it? What kind of moral depravity would allow that argument to be made?

Read the whole thing.

When I was in the mental health field, I worked with some clients who were sex offenders as well as having a major mental illness. I received some training on treatment issues with individuals who are sexual predators and learned what seems so obvious. A major problem identified in research was that they had no ability to develop empathy with their victims. They can't put themselves in other peoples shoes; they can't see the havoc they do to other people. I believe, obviously, we as a country have the same problem.

For the sexual offenders, the most powerful tool is group therapy with others in various stages of "recovery". The offenders call each other on their bullshit and rationalizing and confront what they have done. Who is doing that for us as a country. We all don't go too deep, we don't demand an end to this because what we have done is just so amazingly horrible. And now, to have political candidates triangulating, avoiding this issue and using this war as a chest thumpin' , big balls swingin' test to show you aren't afraid of killin' is a sham and that they are considering bombing Iran, is criminally stupid.

A white American girl goes missing while on vacation in some tropical country or a girl falls in a well, we come unhinged and the need to do something. Spare no expense. But look at this photo and caption.

It is all so sad. I know those kids. I have played with them at the Boy&Girls Club, they play with my kid, they ARE my kid and I AM that parent that got shot. (I have shitty brakes in my car too.)

But I am also struck by the soldiers; one has his entire face covered, the other is down with the crying kids trying to not look so scary. I bet he has kids. He is comforting a kid and appears to have his hand on the kid's head. Moments before he might have been the guy who shot and killed the parents. You can almost see that he is disassociating from the whole deal, staring at the ground.
I don't know how you could go on. The VA's are going to be filled, the shelters are going to overflowing, the drug companies will make a killing on the prozac and valium, cigarette and alcohol companies are going to do really well numbing people out. We are going to be supporting those troops until they die, long after this crazy empire building is done. But how will we ever make it up to those children.
We gotta work on little empathy and someone make this stop.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's why I love you. I'm with you 100%. That's also why I say I don't believe in war. Ever ever ever. Because I'm a mom and know the pain and work it was/is to bring a wonderful kid into the world and everyone has a mom. And a dad. And a body. And they get hurt. All wars are dumb.