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Is it fascism yet? 5.4.04

Ah. Military intelligence. Is there any greater oxymoron? Although he is not one to be oft quoted by me, I’d like to remind you all that PJ O'Rourke said, "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." True that. And so is giving power and guns to young, poorly trained soldiers like giving power and guns to teenage boys (and girls!). Not “like” in fact, but just that in many cases. Still. How much did it creep me out to hear old Sy Hersh calling the soldiers who allegedly engaged in prisoner abuse and maltreatment “kids” on the news yesterday? No matter how poorly trained or inadequately supervised, this is still our professional fighting force, is it not? Hi, Mi Lai.

I was lying in bed this morning listening to the mourning (sic.) news and I started thinking, “If I had to take off like a war refugee, what could I take with me that I wouldn’t want to loose?” and got some awful image in my head of me in a kerchief running amongst smoking rubble clutching the puss and it was JUST LIKE that scene from “Wag the Dog,” which made me smile ruefully and wish for the good old days of distant wars and no fear. It’s a new Mi Lai these days, because now it’s like if the Vietcong could get pissed off and show up down the street from me blowing shit up. Why, hello there, Jihad!

But fear is mindless and dull. Which is why when I stick my head in the sand, I like to bring a flashlight along and get some reading done. Actually, I am just really pleased that the US military is rocking the jailhouse duty so righteously hard because it gives me an excuse to dip into one of my own favorite subjects: the Stanford Prison Experiment. You should definitely read up on your Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram because it is about to become primo quality cocktail party small talk. Trust me. Just start bantering about a little deindividuation mixed with some dehumanization and presto! Evil-Doers at your service. Because it is the end of the academic year, now is a wonderful time to go dumpster diving at your local over-priced private institution of higher learning and find a Social Psychology textbook, where all of this will be covered in great detail. Or you could just check out this fascinating and easy read by Doc. Zimbardo. Don’t worry. This will all help you remember who the real evil-doers are. Duh.

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