Now, Where Were We Before We Were Interrupted?:
Do you think there was a moment in Abu Ghraib or any number of prisons in Iraq when some Iraqi male, stripped nude and forced into a line, hunched over so that he was staring at the asshole of the man in front of him while armed Americans stood around and laughed, thought, "What the fuck?" Beyond the cultural degradation of being nude in front of others, especially women, beyond the psychological torture, do you think it ever crossed the minds of the prisoners, many already believing that Americans are a defiled people, just a plaintive, "What the fuck? Why do they want us naked? Why do must I stare into my neighbor's asshole? What, exactly, is this accomplishing?" Then, of course, this theoretical Iraqi male would go right back to fearing for his life and thinking, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." (And this doesn't even get into whatever horrible revelations leak out about the treatment of women and children.)

You see, there's a huge difference between theory and practice. The theory says, "The United States has signed treaties to prevent torture, 'cause, like, we don't want our soldiers tortured. But what if we really, really, really want to torture people? How can we get around those inconvenient treaties?" Theory asks, "How can we commit war crimes without being held accountable?" Theory demands that there be a theoretical justification for torture, and theory always falls back on the old saws of "national security" and "preventing terrorist attacks." Theory says, "Executive privilege will be our cover." Covering their asses while exposing the asses of others - the modus operandi of the Bush administration.

Ah, but practice. Practice turns theory into action, you know. One can theorize that the passed out cheerleader on our bed is "not saying 'no'" while you fuck her and turn her around and fuck her again. However, in practice, you are committing rape. Unfortunately, practice when it comes to Iraqi prisoners involved lots of nasty things, as we now know, like real and actual murder, real and actual rape, real and actual torture of real and actual bodies, most of them innocent. Theory is clean. Practice is messy. Maybe President Bush and others in his administration thought that the U.S. could enact a kinder, gentler version of torture. Maybe they believed in such degrees. Maybe they believed they were superior to other torturous regimes throughout history. Perhaps. But that's more theory, is it not? And shouldn't we judge the actions of people, not their thoughts or intentions?

And the intention that is becoming horrifyingly clear is that the Constitution of this country is seen as an impediment to the Bush administration enactment of its theory. The "rule of law" is merely a pretense, so many paper towels to wipe the shit off the shoes of power. The truly insidious part of all the "memos" coming out right now is that they lay out how to weasel out of prosecution for everyone involved. For instance, no one could be held accountable, the lawyers argue, "if military personnel believed that they were acting on orders from superiors." Ahh, sweet Nuremberg, haunting this administration more than D-Day, more than the forgetful ghost of Ronald Reagan, bumping into walls at the White House. How the bodies of the hanged Nazis danced in the breeze.

But let's follow the bouncing ball of logic here: What other "laws" might be set aside because Bush has "the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation's security"? Perhaps he might set aside prostitution laws because a tense President is an ineffective President? Just a hand job for freedom? Or maybe, say, laws governing elections can be set aside. We are, after all, living in an unending "national emergency" where our "security" is more important than any onerous dictates of "law" and "order" and "democracy."

If you get a chance, check out Joe Biden's passionate attack on Ashcroft and the administration's arrogance about "international law." Biden's got a kid whose ass is on the line. The rest of us are just bent over, staring into the asshole, that puckered eye, of America.