In March 2002 Bush interrupted a meeting between three senators and Dr. Rice as they discussed strategies for Iraq in relationship to the U.N. According to Time magazine the commander-in-chief stopped all the talk and said - "Fuck Saddam - we're taking him out."
The order with its gangster sexual aggression - came from Bush - perceived by most people in the world to be our president but speaking as if he were Sonny Corleone or Tony Soprano. "Fuck Saddam." Meaning what? Penetrate, humiliate, feminize?
That order - its tone - its twist - its thrust - trickled down to Abu Ghraib - to that man with the gloves - his arms folded -smiling over the anonymous cluster of hooded humanity in front of him. It trickled down to that androgynous creature with the perky damaged smile whose life is now as ruined as the moment she has been caught in forever.
That command oozes into the consciousness of the enlisted and the hired like a gas - like anthrax. It works its way into the cells and the nervous system of those who do the president's bidding. It was not depose, impeach or defeat - it was "Fuck." Whatever else he may have said from a podium or an aircraft carrier or the oval office - beneath it all was that order he announced in passing to Dr. Rice and the three senators - beneath it all are those pictures, which look like and are dark gothic dreams.
As Christ said - what you whisper in corners will be shouted from rooftops. Bush's whisper is now a full screen. The pathetic scapegoats are not the point - as much as they will be used as such. The president will say he could not have any idea that something like this could go on - the same way Dr. Rice could never imagine planes going into buildings. But in fact, the seed was planted in March 2002 and Abu Ghraib is the harvest.
He can't apologize because he moves forward with a certain color blindness. He'll speak when spoken to - i.e. caught - but to originate redemptive concepts is not what he was hired for.
What I hope we and the Iraqi people will remember are those Americans - dubbed as crackpot and treasonous at the time - who stopped their lives here and went to Baghdad to be human shields - and the protestors who crowded Washington, New York, San Francisco, Chicago - who knew that Abu Ghraib would be part of the sickening tapestry that war weaves. We have to remember those Americans who had no aspirations of approval or heroism but acted heroically on behalf of common humanity.
The Americans who were considered focus groups and marginal are now the only faces that have a chance of replacing the faces of the smiling sadists, which sadly for now stands as the real face of America to the world at large and who in some way got their marching orders in March 2002.
Bill C. Davis is a playwright – author of 'Mass Appeal', 'Avow' and the upcoming 'The Sex King' - http://www.billcdavis.com/