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January 18, 2005

Bob Herbert - Confusing Light for Darkness

Every so often, I read an editorial that causes me to shake my head and reach for my keyboard. More often than not, those editorials are from the New York Times and here's the latest from Bob Herbert who spent a recent evening with Hollywood celebs Martin Sheen, Lynn Redgrave, Alfre Woodard, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson and others less notable, reading Ariel Dorfman's play "Speak Truth to Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark." This inspired him to write the following editorial, presumably with a straight face.

Here, he describes the impetus for the book that spawned the play - a collection of interviews from people who have "defended human rights in countries that span the globe". One such woman:

Dianna Ortiz is an Ursuline nun from New Mexico who went to Guatemala in the 1980's as a missionary. She was abducted, gang raped and tortured by government agents. She said one of the men overseeing the torture appeared to be American. At one point she was lowered into a pit filled with the bodies of men, women and children who had been murdered.

"To this day," said Sister Ortiz, "I can smell the decomposing of bodies disposed of in an open pit. I can hear the piercing screams of other people being tortured."

Horrible. But the man "appeared to be American"? America is a country made up of people from all ethnic backgrounds. How does an American look?

And, her experience also describes stories coming out of the Iraq during Saddam's reign. Keep this in mind when reading the following excerpt:

From my perspective, this is a dark moment in American history. The Treasury has been raided and the loot is being turned over by the trainload to those who are already the richest citizens in the land. We've launched a hideous war for no good reason in Iraq.

He needs to take another look. We have one of the highest standards of living anywhere in the world. Along with Australia, we took the lead in post-tsunami relief work, leaving the U.N. in the dust. We've liberated 25 million people in Afghanistan and another 25 million people in Iraq - 50 million good reasons. And if he's forgotten why we went to war, these Marines haven't:

That's my boy, LCpl Shane Conrad standing for freedom with the other proud Marines of 1/7, Baker Company.

Herbert's editorial continues:

Never since his assassination in 1968 have I felt the absence of Martin Luther King more acutely. Where are today's voices of moral outrage? Where is the leadership willing to stand up and say: Enough! We've sullied ourselves enough.

I'm convinced, without being able to prove it, that those voices will emerge. There was a time when no one had heard of Dr. King. Or Oscar Arias Sanchez. Or Martin O'Brien, who founded the foremost human rights organization in Northern Ireland, and who tells us: "The worst thing is apathy - to sit idly by in the face of injustice and to do nothing about it."

Mr. Herbert, change your perspective. The voice you're hoping for has indeed emerged and his name is George W. Bush. He acted when others sat back . . . and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan now face the future with hope instead of fear.

Thanks to Cassandra for the original link.

Posted by Deb at January 18, 2005 11:58 AM


How does an American look?

Guilty as heck, apparently :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 18, 2005 12:36 PM

There are two kinds of sheep: the truly stupid and the plain cowardly. Wolves are never concerned about the number of sheep. I am a bit concerned about the whole 'Bush has emerged' thing. I pray to God that in twenty years we don't look back at those who sang Bush's praises much in the same way that we see footage of ecstatic Germans cheering on old Adolf. 9-11? Hhhmmm, in that case, why aren't we picking on the Saudis? Don't be afraid to spit out some things that you are spoonfed if they just don't taste right (unless your in the Corps, then follow orders as you have vowed). Nevertheless, come home safe. In the end, we are Americans and the Marines are definately model Americans at that--I am just saying that when you get home maybe try tugging on Bush's wool to see if it comes off and reveals something more sinister. Of course, I could be wrong, in fact--I pray that you are RIGHT!


Posted by: Mattson at January 18, 2005 02:49 PM

Mattson: There are two kinds of sheep: the truly stupid and the plain cowardly.

Which variety would you happen to be? Let me guess, you are neither - your superior intellect coupled with your indomitable courage has led you to the conclusion that conservatives are a bunch of stupid and cowardly sheep. Gimme a break.

Posted by: Zhang Fei at January 19, 2005 04:58 PM

Opinions are like navels, everybody has one.
But Mr. Herbert has the freedom to spew his opinion in that snobish liberal rag while the rest of us have the internet! Freedom is what were fighting for, and I'm glad the Times doesn't get any money from me.

Posted by: Steve at January 19, 2005 08:29 PM

I am a shepherd. I keep a watch out for wolves.

Posted by: Mattson at January 20, 2005 02:55 PM