Friday, April 18, 2008

The Pope, The President, "Body of War": when is any action better than no action? by Sybil Sage

Am I the only one concerned that the prez may have nicknamed the Pope, "Benny"? Each time Bush is within earshot of anyone not in his employ, to me it looks like a game of, "good cop, bad cop." Through my eyes, there are few opportunities for W to be the good cop. Maybe with O.J. Simpson. Jeffrey Skilling? Leona Helmsley? Warren Jeffs?

I didn't need the documentary by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, "Body of War," to remind me why I'm so angry at this president, but I did need it to feel the grief. Many of us cried at the wrenching challenges facing Tomas Young, a soldier who'd volunteered for the Army after seeing Bush atop the rubble of Ground Zero. This bright 25-year-old had hoped to avenge the terrorist attack by going to Afghanistan but found himself in Iraq, where on day five a gunshot wound left him paralyzed from the chest down. The tragedy that affected Young and his family have to be multiplied by the thousands who've suffered because of this war.

Despite Bush's "support the troops" mantra, Young, from his wheelchair, tells us, "There were 25 of us crammed into the back of a two-and-a-half-ton truck with no covering on top or armor on the sides. For the Iraqis on the top of the roof, it just looked like, you know, ducks in a barrel. They didn’t even have to aim.” Young was shortchanged by our government again in not receiving the medical care he required. Against his struggle, it's even more reviling to watch a smiling, guilt-free, playful Bush in a skit at the White House Press Dinner searching the Oval Office for weapons of mass destruction.

The film also shows how readily American politicians accepted and repeated White House misinformation, including justifying the rush to war with, "Any action is better than no action." That reasoning seems to apply to the private meetings Pope Benedict has held with some who, as children, had been molested by clergymen. The victims are reporting feeling heard and have, for the first time, reason to hope this may lead to changes.

But have Bush's actions been better than no actions? I'd argue no. If he'd taken none of the actions he did during his terms of office, I suspect we'd be better off. And that's why the visual of the Prez and the Pope qualifies as "Good cop, bad cop."

No comments: