May 13th, 2004

Jesus Tapdancing Christ...

I saw part of the Nick Berg execution video.

I was downloading what I thought was a live recording of A Perfect Circle, went to preview/play it, and it was the scene where they were holding him by his hair on his left side and cutting his throat and chanting "God is great!" in Arabic over his terrified screaming. I immediately turned it off and burst into tears. I might have slept two hours last night, if that. I could have gone the rest of my life without having seen that, and I didn't even see the most disturbing part of it. Trust KaZaA users to have done something that completely wrong.

I was reminded of an incident a couple of years ago whereby someone I know on LJ posted a link to the video of Daniel Pearl's beheading, and it made me very angry. I can understand why anyone would need to be reminded of the reality of this situation, to have it driven home for them, if for no other reason than because I cannot understand the apathy that has consumed us as a society wherein the murder of innocents such as this one doesn't diminsh one's spirit in the least. But I already feel like that, I didn't need to have that image put into my head.

And yes, Nick Berg was an innocent. Whether he was in Iraq of his own accord to make money or to give it away is a nonissue. His crimes might consist of naiveté and stupidity, but that's about it and if that's the case then I don't know anyone who isn't guilty.

That is very much an American trait, the kind of apathetic disregard that I'm talking about, and it is disgusting to me that we take so much for granted. Quite possibly that was Nick Berg's biggest mistake and the very thing that put him there in the first place. Even with the best of intentions and the greatest desire to help, no American citizen - let alone a Jew - should be in Iraq or any country rife with fundamentalist anarchy. True enough, we have plenty of that here in the name of Christianity, but if you care anything for your own safety or of the sanctity of your family and friends, you'd never put yourself in that position in the first place.

Another thing, I hear a lot of talk about these American soldiers that need to have the everliving SHIT beat out of them for their treatment of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, and I don't disagree that they should be punished for what they've done - along with every single one of their senior officers who order this kind of brutality.

Let's face it though, war isn't some delightful little pie bake off, people! If you think for one minute that what happened to Nick Berg is fundamentally different from the Iraqi citizens being killed by AMERICAN soldiers, then you need to get fucked. No, the vast majority of our troops aren't the ones in those pictures who are torturing prisoners, they are instead people doing a very difficult job that requires them to leave their families for little to no money whatsoever. I know that, I accept that, I understand the need for that - but that is their choice, folks. No one is being drafted into the armed services, you go voluntarily. You volunteer for a job that requires you to be dehumanized so that you feel okay about killing other people, and put your own life on the line in the process. I respect them because I know for a fact that I couldn't do that job, and because they protect my freedom to live and bitch about whatever I want. Same for you, so know and understand that before you go trashing them.

I have lived the majority of my life 15 minutes away from the largest Army training base in the States. I have been friends with countless soldiers, and have firsthand knowledge of the kind of shit they get put through, even when it is their choice.

I saw the last seconds of a man's life right before his head was sawed off and held up in the most gross display imaginable. And in the name of God, on the top of it.

I cannot understand why anyone believes God exists when things like this happen. Don't dare speak to me about God's plan, either - because if God really were real, that's the best God can do is to let things like this, the Holocaust, and 9/11 happen, then I sure as hell wouldn't pledge my life to him. As I've said before, I wish there really were such a thing as God and that I could get the opportunity to meet him/her/it - and spit right square in the motherfucker's face.

Now I'm going to load up the truck with the stuff we're selling at the yard sale on Saturday and drop it off. Time to be productive.
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Right On!

Rep. King Criticizes Vatican for Criticisms
Thursday, May 13, 2004

WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman who is Roman Catholic said Thursday the Vatican has no right to criticize the United States for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners because of the Catholic Church's history of abusing children and covering up its actions.

"If there's anyone in the world who has no right to speak on sexual abuse, it's the Vatican," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. "This is the height of hypocrisy."

In an interview published Wednesday in the Rome daily La Repubblica, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo described the prisoner abuses as "a tragic episode in the relationship with Islam" and said the scandal would fuel hatred for the West and for Christianity.

"The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11. Except that the blow was not inflicted by terrorists but by Americans against themselves," Lajolo said.

"Whatever the United States has done to prisoners in Iraq is nothing compared to what priests and nuns did to Catholic kids for decades while the Catholic hierarchy covered it up," King said. "Think of the thousands of kids in the U.S. and Ireland who were abused by priests and nuns - you wonder where the Vatican's moral compass is."

King said the U.S. military's investigation into the prison abuses show America has responded admirably to the problem. In contrast, the church has not done enough to fix its own problems or apologize for them, he said.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said the archbishop's statements show anti-American sentiment within the Vatican.

"This man is an absolute embarrassment to the Catholic Church. I read that and I was just boiling over," said Donohue.

Donohue said he disagreed with King's contention that the church should not speak out about abuse issues, but called the archbishop's comparison of the abuse scandal to Sept. 11 "singularly irresponsible, insulting, and anti-American."