January 14, 2005

Idiocy.

Idiocy. It's the only thing I could think when I read the account of Guy Womack, lawyer for Specialist Charles A Graner, Jr., defending his client’s behavior. Graner as you probably know is up for a court-martial for his role in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.


Given the deplorable practices at the prison, the intense worldwide backlash experienced when photos of the abuse became public, and the fact that Graner is considered to be the potential ringleader for the abuse, you would think his attorney would have exhibited great care and caution when commenting on the activities that occurred under his client's watch.


But no. What did Womack suggest? That dragging prisoners by a leash is not much different that how parents put toddlers in airports on a leash and that forcing naked prisoners into a pyramid formation can't be bad since cheerleaders form pyramids all the time and no one complains.


Excuse me?


Has the judgment of professionals deteriorated to such a point that they can make no distinction of context? Cheerleaders audition voluntarily for a squad and do pyramids with clothes on. That seems a tad bit different from detainees hooded and handcuffed being stripped and humiliated as their naked bodies are piled on top of each other for the enjoyment of those in power.


While Womack is clearly out of line, it's not too surprising that some people have difficulty distinguishing in which context certain content will be considered acceptable or unacceptable.


I'm reading the media coverage of Prince Harry's deplorable decision to wear a Nazi armband to a party. He is being taken to task for poor judgment and an apparent lack of understanding of the atrocities associated with the symbol he sported.


But only six blocks from my home almost 2000 people who have paid upwards of $60-$70 will gather tonight to cheer a performance of the most celebrated Tony-award winning musical in which more than a dozen people in Nazi costume will sing and dance in the The Producers' showstopping number, “Springtime for Hitler.”


We live in a bizarre world.


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