Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Outside some alarm has gone off; at first I'd imagined a car alarm but it did not ring insistently. It bleated out a few loud tones in a babbling, singsong melody and stopped. Perhaps a police alarm gone haywire. It rang in oddly organic fits and starts – at one point I wondered whether it was the whooping of a lunatic, wandering off the avenue and into the darkened street to rattle the dozy citizenry.

It has stopped now.

The soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, it is said, filmed themselves, in the words of military officials, "acting inappropriately with a dead body."

Who knows what the fuck that means but it's worth noting in connection with our revulsion at how Iraqis in Fallujah tore apart the burned bodies of the ambushed Americans a few weeks ago. Even those among us who are critical of the U.S. surely felt a pang of racist, all-American disgust: Look at these animals. We're not like them.

Oh, but we are quite like them. And this leads me to a strangely, under the circumstances, reassuring realization: We are them and they are us.