He worships at the altar of a stagnant pool,
And when he sees his reflection, he's fulfilled...
Who'll take away his license to kill?
-- Bob Dylan
Williams Rivers Pitt and E.L. Doctorow speak bitter truth to pitiless power: A Feast of Death.
We are only three days into the month of August, and 22 US soldiers are dead. 54 died in July, 78 died in June, and 80 died in May. The occupation has lasted 868 days. More than two thousand soldiers, almost all of them young American boys and girls, have had the life blasted out of them because they were sent by their commander in chief to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Those soldiers who remain, those soldiers who have been redeployed into the war zone two or three times already, wait with grim resolve to be brought home to their families whole and sane and safe.
Acclaimed novelist E.L. Doctorow has penned some words about George W. Bush and his understanding of death and this war. "This president," wrote Doctorow, "does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."
"But you study him," continued Doctorow, "you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be. They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life. They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq. How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing."