Ghost stories from the news landfill - Zach Porter

Does anyone remember the American terrorist, fighting with the Taliban against us? Come on, do you recall, is it just on the tip of your tongue? John something right? I had to look it up myself, so I'll tell you. It's John Walker Lindh, the ersatz-Taliban fighter, the terrorist "wannabe" you forgot to hate. Lindh never caught on as a household name like his terrorist friends Osama and Saddam. And does anyone really care about Saddam now that he is captured or Osama for that matter until he finally is? Ask yourself, would it not have been so much better, so much more tantalizing had Hussein been killed in a hail of military bullets, right after American Idol, in your own living room, live on network television? We can hope and pray for at least that when they find Osama, breaking news just after the season finale of "24," live on network television!

I sure bet this current prison photo debacle will no doubt make Abu Ghraib another Arabic household buzzword such as al-Qaida, but the individuals involved will probably not make it into our collective memory. These guys betrayed our country just like John Walker Lindh did, but at least it was not under the guise of our own Stars and Stripes. John Walker at least knew where his loyalties were (although troubling ones), renouncing his roots to serve another government (although a troubling one). One American fighting against us is far less worrisome than several of our own soldiers spending untold hours indulging themselves in perversity in lieu of "defending our freedom."

Aside from posing in lewd positions or terrorizing soldiers and civilians, do Iraqis do anything else? I'd like to see some photos of what the average guy does in Iraq. Do they go to restaurants or eat at all? Does anyone go to work at the factory, chat over tea at a corner market in Baghdad maybe? Do they have any national sports? From the newsreels it would appear everyone is too busy looting or carrying around rocket launchers to enjoy their day with any hobbies. Surely there are some nice folks there who want to be liberated and then left alone to tend to their farm. Just as the media over saturates channels with footage of barbaric looking Arabs screaming, the Arab language networks will do the same with those prison photos. We look exactly the same to them as they do to us, oppressive beings with guns abusing their power. Surely there is another truth to be found in that land.

Anyway you look at, Iraqis or Americans, it's either revolting scenes out of a horror film with severed heads or depraved acts of pornography. The media feeds us this buffet and we keep shoveling it in, our appetites never satisfied for the worst of news. Hopefully by tomorrow we can forget about this prison scandal and make room in the media landfill, packed with already browning articles of Saddam, Osama, John Walker Lindh, Jessica Lynch, Thomas Hamill and now Nick Berg. Civilian, or soldier; good guys or bad, all the same, buried under the ever growing pile that is the news.

Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 248 or at zporter@news-daily.com