Friday, March 30, 2007

Juxtaposition Friday

...and Editing-For-Clarity Saturday.

Interesting drive home today. During my inexcusably long commute, I caught a couple of pieces on the radio about the latest lesser evil of the Military Commisions Act. I fear the death of irony as much as anything.

From NPR:

Hicks, who had complained of abuse in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo, agrees as part of the deal that he has "never been illegally treated by a person or persons while in the custody of the U.S. government" ...Hicks' lawyers said their client was severely depressed and anxious to find a way to leave Guantanamo, where he lives by himself in a small, maximum-security cell. Observers...have suggested he pleaded guilty only to escape the isolated military prison.
Within five minutes of the first segment, and with no intentional irony, NPR reported this:
[A]nother statement from one of the captured Royal Marines was broadcast on Iranian TV. Royal Marine Nathan Summerson apologized for entering Iranian waters "without permission." British Prime Minister Tony Blair promptly denounced the treatment of the prisoners, who were captured by Iranian forces in the northern Persian Gulf last Friday.
A while back, our buddy IOZ pointed out that the most redeeming thing about the Nazis was their fashion sense. I get that. In a battle to teh bottom of the international relations morality scale, we're left with what exactly is better about America, and at least as far as bellicosity is concerned, it's a difference of degree and not kind. We dress our own evil up in nicer clothes. We don't shout "death to Iran" at football games (yet). You can get better food. We all have better toys. We drink. I personally think our national mythology is the superior one, but then I'm not religious...

There are real differences, of course, between the U.S. and Iran. Women are doing OK here, and you can bet I wouldn't be posting anything like this in the Islamic Republic. The two reports I mentioned, presented almost back-to-back, are in many ways equivalent in my eyes: forced confessions, detention, cultural bias as judgement. We're working real hard on making a matter of who has the more appealing uniforms.

Well, I hope this doesn't mean (more) war in any case. I'm not too optimistic.