In my last post I mentioned America standing on a pedestal. I should say that I'm all for standing proud on a pedestal and bragging about one's greatness. When one has a great accomplishment, a true champion will brag all he can about it (some more loudly than others). But when it's a false accomplishment, the person trying to stand on the pedestal should expect to be spit upon and moreover, should not ignore the spitters. To put an analogy to this, I'll use the NBA playoffs, since they're consuming my evenings right now.
A false accomplishment is hitting a game tying shot in the 2nd quarter of a first playoff game. Trying to stand on a pedestal after that is screaming and hollering to the crowd to show how much heart you have. This is something a true champion would never do, it's something a kid would do. It's something that Steve Francis did against the Lakers in a game that his team ended up losing. Steve, sit your ass down. Oops, you're already doing that since your team got knocked out of the playoffs last week. Now, a true champion is someone gets up on the pedestal once something great has been done. Michael Jordan did this as he pushed Bryon Russell aside for a game-winning (and 6th championship-winning) shot against the Jazz.
Now, I'm not saying that basketball shots are mark of a champion in the world at large, but the attitude is something to note. Right now, I believe that the Bush admin is prematurely getting up on the pedestal without much to show for. A "mission accomplished" speech? That's like a 1st quarter layup. Sit down son. Capturing Saddam? That's like a hard dunk near the end of the 2nd quarter. Nice make kid, but get back on D. Finding your own soldiers abusing prisoners in the same way that Saddam's regime did. That's like Hakeem Olajuwan constantly blocking a young Shaq in the 95 NBA Finals. Humiliating. Sit the fuck down and come back when you've won something.
At this point, we should all be showing the same humility when it comes to Iraq. Until we can go back and learn a few lessons, we have anything to stand up for. No matter how you want to relate other good events in the world (eg, Libya's turn-around) to our actions in Iraq, we have nothing to smile about when we can't even entrust our soldiers to respect the people they are supposedly liberating. Yes, a few bad apples have stained thousands of good people struggling to secure Iraq, but what's done is done. Morever, it seems like the chain of command is in willful bliss while they dance around on a shaky pedestal.
-- PS - No offense meant to Hakeem & Shaq in comparing them to recent events in Iraqi prisons. It's just an analogy ;)