What has become of America? - R.H. Joseph

Oh how we crowed when we killed the man's only sons.

"Saddam Hussein deserved it," said those supporting Bush's elective war. After all, hadn't the arrogant leader launched an indefensible invasion of a sovereign nation primarily to commandeer its oil fields?

That in itself should justify the delight Americans derived from their collective responsibility for the death of the Iraqi leader's children. Shouldn't it?

Besides, weren't Uday and Qusay Hussein ultimately responsible for the torture of human beings in the Abu Ghraib prison?

That in itself should justify the delight Americans derived from their collective responsibility for the death of the Iraqi leader's children. Shouldn't it?

If these weren't reasons enough, perhaps the killing of the Iraqi leader's sons was justified by Saddam Hussein's inhumanity toward Iraq's Kurdish minority. But didn't George I (W's daddy) promise the Kurd's our protection and then abandon them to Saddam Hussein?

Well, at least we can be sure Saddam Hussein was a duplicitous leader who would lie in order to further his political agenda. Surely any leader who would stoop that low deserves to have his children killed. Wouldn't you agree?

And speaking of agreements, are you inclined to agree with the commission report looking into the events of Sept. 11 stating there is no evidence to support any relevant connection between al-Qaida and the government of Saddam Hussein?

(Sure, Saddam Hussein's government had contact with representatives of al-Qaida, but then, they had contact with representatives of the government of George I as well. It is important to recall not only is Osama bin Laden Saudi Arabian, so were most of the hijackers of Sept. 11.)

Like the Bush league's equivocation regarding the definition of the word torture, our president, George II, is now drawing subtle distinctions about the relationship between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in order to repudiate the findings of the commission and justify his elective war.

Evidence doesn't mean much to Bush.

There was no evidence for weapons of mass destruction, but that didn't matter.

There was no evidence Saddam Hussein had anything whatsoever to do with the events of Sept. 11, but that didn't matter.

There was no evidence Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States, but that didn't matter.

I know what does matter, at least to the diehard Bush constituency: our president has never been accused of having extra-marital sex.

The president's supporters, the erstwhile Moral Majority, know what's really important. Not the dead soldiers. Not the dead civilians. Neither the staggering debt our nation has incurred nor the alienation of our allies.

What are these when compared to sex-related issues?

You think I'm overstating the situation? Let's revisit the Abu Ghraib debacle.

Those outraged by the behavior of America's "few bad apples" derive their displeasure from the extensive press coverage of the sexual humiliation of the prisoners. (What will we do if Saddam Hussein employs the "few bad apples" defense?)

Yet, though America's obsession with religion is the equal of its preoccupation with sex, this aspect of the prisoner abuse scandal receives scant attention. Americans don't care.

I contend the truly shocking and indefensible orders of those commanding our soldiers, the practice for which Americans should feel most ashamed, is forcing devout Muslims to eat pork and consume alcohol.

Is there a cultural/religious parallel of such profound outrageousness that might be perpetrated upon Americans? I cannot think of one.

Which is the more tortuous assault upon a man's soul, being forced to participate in culturally reprehensible sexual acts or being forced to transgress the absolute laws of God?

While I do not believe in such things, if you do then how would you judge a command structure that would perpetrate such acts upon those whose faith in God is as fervent as your own?

To what depths will the Bush administration sink in the prosecution of their elective war? Have they no honor?

What has the Bush league done to the soul of America?

Religious Americans should ask themselves, who would lead a country that is fundamentally good at heart down such a path? Of the pantheon of transcendent beings in whom you believe, who would be most inclined to equivocate about the word "torture?"

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.