April 26, 2004
One Fucking Day

Apologies in advance for overzeal and word count.

The other day Cubemate and I were discussing how, exactly, we would leave the country if this year's election comes out wrong. Not out of pragmatism, (though this too) but more from the full weight of the humiliation. The humiliation of being associated with the policies and the actions of these barely United States.

Then, I landed in this hotel room in Seattle, plugged into the ether, hit MeFi and watched this 3 MB video, which rendered me hollow and mute. I read through the MeFi thread looking for consolation, but found dismissiveness instead, in 100 forms including a sub-thread on Grand Theft Auto.

Most comments centered around how this video should be read in America. Not around how this action will be read in Iraq. Not how this is the thing that can bring an Iraqi citizen to hang someone high over the Euphrates river, to rip him up and to drag him through the streets. How this is what inspires an Iraqi to do whatever he can to take out a tank, and everyone in it. And if he holds all 280 million of us responsible for the violence of a few troops and an exceptional event, then he's well acquainted with our own justification for cluster-bombing Afghanistan. Which I myself reluctantly support.


I defy any American to describe the things they could be told that would dissuade them from terror and retribution, if they themselves endured explosive violence and degradation at the hands of some foreign power. Which Americans did experience, for one fucking day, real early in the 21st century.

As the Iraqis experience nearly 365 days of victory like this, I try to imagine what it might be like to experience every day like that day. And then I don't know what to look at, Metafilter, hotel room porn-on-demand, the framed Impressionist 4-color repro, I don't know what to look at without feeling that it too is complicit.

If necessary, I would defend the United States against anything that threatened it. Anything except the slow and steady manufacture of that threat, against which I have no defense but to vote.

If they're counting anything like votes, this year.

Posted by kevin slavin at April 26, 2004 04:34 AM

"Beyond the Euphrates began for us the land of mirage and danger, the sands where one helplessly sank, and the roads which ended in nothing. The slightest reversal would have resulted in a jolt to our prestige giving rise to all kinds of catastrophe; the problem was not only to conquer but to conquer again and again, perpetually; our forces would be drained off in the attempt."

Emperor Hadrian AD 117-138

Posted by: kuros on April 30, 2004 01:27 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:


Remember info?