Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Did you feel bad before you got caught?

Meanwhile, the NYT is unimpressed with the government's handling of the situation.

Of course, what do you expect? A central focus of Rumsfeld's testimony on Friday (what I saw of it, at least) was that the pictures got out. It wasn't until Hillary pointed out that the real issue was what were in the pictures and not that the pictures managed to make it into the public eye.

There was also lots and lots of bullshit talk about how the pictures aren't representative of what America is about, blah blah blah. That's an arguable point, but it's still just as irrelevant as Joe Lieberman pointing out that those responsible for 9/11 hadn't apologized. There are plenty of people out there who already think that America is all about shit like the prisoner abuse, and this only helps to cement it. Undoubtedly there are also many others who weren't already against us who are nonetheless being pushed in that direction thanks to the pictures.

That's one thing that we don't seem to get in this country: how important perception of our country is. It doesn't matter how fucking good or bad we are as a people, if someone thinks we're a certain way, then that's all that's going to matter. If they decide to take action against us, they're not going to act based on just what they're told America is like, they're going to act based on what they think America is like. Over here, we seem to have this notion in our heads that we're so good and as such, everyone else should have the same belief.

Right now, I'm not making any sort of value judgments on working to change perceptions or saying that it's even possible. I'm just stating the simple fact that what other people think of us matters, and what we think of ourselves doesn't mean a damn thing.

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