Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Like most gay people I've been enjoying the Larry Craig scandal as it unfolds. It's always gratifying to see an anti-gay Republican being exposed as a hypocrite. My friend Jeff though made me stop to look into this matter further. What did he actually do to be accused of a crime? I read the police report.
He looked through the cracks of a stall
He tapped his foot
He put his foot on the officer's foot
He moved his fingers around under a stall
I had to stop and think. Is this worthy of a criminal arrest?? He wasn't playing with his privates at the urinal or peeking at others. He didn't show his privates under the stall or something.
I had to think - would I be "dancing on his grave" so gleefully if it had happened to someone else. What if it was openly gay Senator Barney Frank? I'd probably think it was embarrassing for my people but much ado about nothing really. I'd probably think the same thing I thought when George Michael got busted "Why is he looking for sex in a public bathroom??? He has cash and could pay for it. At the very least chat someone up and take them home"
What if it was a celebrity who we truly loved? What if it was John Travolta? (not saying he's gay - ALLEGEDLY as Kathy Griffin would say) I'd probably think "Why doesn't he just come out?" and again he could afford an escort.
I'm not defending people having sex in public bathrooms. They are not intended for that. However I would think at least there should be something more suggestive than that.
I'm a gay man. What if an attractive officer smiled at me in the rest room, if I smile back and act interested can I be arrested? Where does flirting and soliciting for sex cross the line?
What if the officer is playing with himself at the urinal? Is that entrapment if a gay man responds to that action?
Part of the reaction to this scandal is very appealing - the hypocritical gay bashing Senator getting caught soliciting gay sex. Another part makes me sad - He is in his 60's so he was alive pre-Stonewall, maybe he is a victim of homophobia he was taught. A self hating gay man having public sex - that is sad.
The other reaction I have is defensive. Some of the people reacting to this scandal are not reacting negatively because he was soliciting for sex. There are people reacting negatively because he is Gay. There is lots of Homophobia swirling around this debate from the Republicans. (and the Press - Tucker Carlson was making Gay bashing jokes)
This is a scandal because he pleaded guilty, his anti-gay voting record and the past complaints leveled against him. But I ask you - should people be arrested for tapping their foot?
Friday, August 24, 2007
I saw the documentary NO END IN SIGHT about the war in Iraq and it's haunting me. I had made many assumptions about why the Iraq war had gone so horribly wrong. I thought I knew the whole story. I didn't and I blame our truly inept media. (another blog on that is coming)
I had an assumption that the military and especially the leaders of the military were totally on board with every decision coming from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Paul Bremer. Despite the public face supporting The White House the military did not agree with key decisions being made.
The current insurgency that is causing the high loss of life for the Iraqi people and wounding/killing our own soldiers is a direct result of several bad decisions. (Here are a few - just a teeny tiny sampling)
#1. Not having a plan for reconstruction or what happened after Saddam was out of power.
This has caused food shortages, water shortages, electricity shortages and deteriorating conditions that have led to a lack of respect for American occupation in Iraq. The constant horrible conditions and frustrations have caused the Iraqi people to turn against us.
This also caused major looting of weapons later used against our soldiers.
#2. The decision to disband the ba'th party - the political leaders who were already working with our military to come up with a post-Saddam infrastructure for Iraq. Making them unemployable and vocal critics of the Americans who they were supporting previous to that action.
Once there was no semblance of rule the different factions in Iraq have gone on a power hungry struggle throwing the country into civil war. This has led to people grabbing power who may even be worse than Saddam Hussein.
#3. The worst decision of all - disbanding the Iraqi army. Making an enormous group of young military trained (and armed) men unable to find work to support their families. They were willing to work with the American military but once that happened they turned against us. They are the insurgents killing our soldiers now.
If only we had done the correct things - none of this had to happen.
Worst of all - the military leaders on the ground in Iraq knew all this. They were trying to tell the leaders all this information (and did) but the leaders had made up their mind what they were going to do. Out of political ignorance and arrogance our soldiers are now losing their lives. (and creating extremists and/or terrorists)
This had a huge effect - now the Military had to look at Iraqis as "the enemy". They started putting Iraqis in prisons, raiding their homes etc etc to keep themselves safe. (and yes some abuses followed too) This caused the Iraqis to hate us further - no longer liberators but occupiers. (this image helps extremists gain new members)
To the American Military the Iraqis no longer became the people they were working with but the people to be afraid of.
Paul Bremer should be held accountable for every death that has occurred since he was put in charge of Iraq. He has so much blood on his hands. Of course he can share it with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and more.
The funny thing about this documentary was that I didn't feel it was hugely "anti-Bush" - if anything he comes across as detached and delegating the decisions to others. It's like Ronald Reagan with the AIDS crisis - you can't prove he knew what was going on but you can blame him for NOT knowing.
It isn't a Michael Moore hatchet job or partisan propaganda film.(and unfortunately not a laugh to be had unlike Moore's films) People from the Bush administration, military leaders, soldiers are all interviewed. I think it's very fair in that way. You can't tell this story without placing blame.
Overall I came across with a feeling of sadness and hopelessness. We can't now go back and correct those things we didn't get right. If we stay we can't fix it and nothing good is going to happen if we go. However since it's not going to make any difference either way I say "Bring our boys home".
The fact that I got more information on the different factions in Iraq, the reasons things went downhill and the current state of affairs from a documentary and not our news outlets is staggering. (but I sure know lots about Paris Hilton!)
I think it's your duty to see NO END IN SIGHT. I'm just warning you that you will not forget it.