Neo-Hippie Ramblings - I'm a Non-Conformist Just Like All My Friends: Impeach Bush - You can hide the bodies but not the stench

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Impeach Bush - You can hide the bodies but not the stench

The quagmire in Iraq has handed an oddly light workload to the spin doctors, so far. The mainstream media is lazy, or scared, or something. But strangely quiet on the subject, regardless.

Perhaps it's a lingering frost from the arctic blast that Ashcroft blew over the press when he likened criticism of the President to treason. Perhaps it's a misguided sense of patriotism. Perhaps it's the fear that questioning the White House these days is tantamount to professional suicide. Or perhaps it's just a gun-shy reaction to the knee-jerk histrionics that the far Right pundits put forth whenever anything remotely critical of Bush policy makes the headlines.

I suspect that all of these things play a role.

Most of all, though, I think that the stranglehold that the Pentagon has maintained over images of war coming from Afghanistan and Iraq have allowed this deadly farce to continue.

We in the United States rely on visual evidence as the standard of truth. That's accurate even here in the blogosphere where text still matters a lot. When we want to make a point, we link to a news source. When we want to really hammer home a point, we link to a video feed.

So in a brilliant strategic move, the Bush administration has done everything it could to hide from the public any and all images of military and civilian deaths. By and large, it's been an unqualified success. Unless you get your news from a source outside the US, your view of all events has been carefully sterilized.

I first noticed this before we invaded Iraq -- back when we were still ostensibly looking for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. (You remember, that guy Bush told us wasn't important any more?) At the time, I was reading Debka pretty regularly. They reported repeatedly, and in no uncertain terms, that China had been arming and providing troops to the Taliban.

Now Debka might have an agenda, but it's definitely not a pro-Taliban or pro-China agenda. They'd gain nothing by lying about such a thing. "The shit's gonna hit the fan when the MSM gets ahold of this", I thought.

I waited. Here's what they reported: Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. I never heard a peep about it again, at least from within the US. The media treated it like a flyblown raccoon on the side of the road.

At the time, I gave CNN et al the benefit of the doubt. "Maybe it couldn't be corroborated", I told myself, "or maybe Debka was just mistaken". Over time though, the discrepancies between what the US media reported and what the rest of the world was hearing were such that I could no longer chalk them all up to coincidence.

Case in point: Google up 'Fallujah + napalm' or 'Fallujah + ambulance' and see what you get -- and from respectable sources in the UK, at that. Seriously. Do it now. And don't forget to stop back after the nausea wears off.

Guess what? The guy who was in the checkout line ahead of you today knows nothing about what you just read. Neither did the woman who was stopped next to you in traffic. And nobody's going to tell them, either. To them, it never happened. And they'll be voting for the next President, just like you and me. That gets under my skin. How about you?

Enter hurricane Katrina.

We're hearing now that Bush doesn't want photographs of bodies to be recorded, that news crews are being turned away by the National Guard. Is there good reason to handle horrific images sensitively? Hell yes, we ought to treat our dead with respect and demand the same of the press. But that standard of behavior is the responsibility of the media to uphold and of the court of public opinion to enforce. It is not the proper place for a heavy-handed and unconstitutional edict.

Is there good reason to prevent these images from being captured at all? Sure there is. But only for those with something to hide -- those culpable for the miserable and naked failure to make good on the promises we've been asked to pay billions and surrender important civil liberties to buy: promises of adequate emergency response, promises of effective disaster mitigation, promises of homeland security.

And hot from my inbox... Is it far more sinister than a simple act of damage control?
There are some very troubling developments regarding the collecting of bodies in NOLA. The company hired to do the collection is Kenyon International. Kenyon International is owned by SCI, a major Bush contributor. SCI was involved in a scandal called "Funeralgate" wherein thousands of bodies were improperly and fraudulently disposed of in mass graves of in violation of numerous State and Federal laws on numerous occasions.

Rather than prosecute the company, the then Governor George W Bush and and his campaign manager and future FEMA director Joe Allbaugh seemingly helped the company engage in a coverup. Both Bush and Allbaugh were named as defendants in a lawsuit regarding the issue.

The fact FEMA and the Bush Administration seem to be intent on blocking media coverage of the collection of bodies, and unsubstantiated rumours of "mishandling" of bodies in NOLA already circulating should lead to great concern among the public. Is the Government planning to cover up the number of dead in NOLA as they covered up the Abu Ghraib scandal?

Check this out from Naked Wisdom. (Thanks to Voltima of Naked Wisdom for the preceding link and the quoted message above.)

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