By Doug Newman

March 8, 2008

Posted at Novakeo, Christian Liberty, The Libertarian Enterprise, Conservative Heritage Times,
The Price of Liberty and Freedom4um.

America, we are told, is Fighting A Holy War Not Only For Our Own National Survival But For The Survival Of Western Civilization Against Radical Islamofascist Terrorist Fundamentalist Extremists Who Hate Us And Our Freedom And Democracy And Who Want To Take Away That Freedom And Democracy And Undermine Our Very Way Of Life And KILL US ALL!

Do these devils incarnate include Iraqi puppies?

This week, a video of an American marine laughing and joking while throwing a puppy off a cliff went viral on YouTube. I DO NOT believe this scumbag represents the huge majority of our troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. The troops have been lied to profusely. Most, in my opinion, genuinely believe they are leaving home, hearth and Xbox to do a good work for their country.

However, killing an innocent puppy for fun speaks to a far larger issue. It epitomizes the growing American disregard for life and justification of death. It is not the first video I have seen of American military personnel in Iraq abusing animals. Apologists for the war have tried to defend this horrific act by saying that “at least it was not an Iraqi child.” (More on Iraqi children in a few paragraphs.)

However, there is a huge correlation between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans. Both are symptomatic of a total lack of empathy for the suffering of other living things. Frequently, serial rapists and murderers have a history of animal abuse. Such notorious killers as Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz are cases in point.

I read recently how the young Lenin took diabolical joy in clubbing rabbits to death for fun. Not for food, mind you, but for fun. In the words of Paul Harvey, you know the rest of the story.

As horrifying as the “puppy toss” video was, it should not surprise anyone that American military personnel, albeit a very small number, are engaging in such sick activity. Ever since at least 1991, there has been a concerted effort by the US government and the media-military- industrial complex to dehumanize Arabs. This effort shows no signs of abating after January 20, 2009.

In 1996, on 60 Minutes, then-UN Ambassador Madeline Albright was asked, with reference to the United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

Madame Ambassador replied, “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”

Did those half a million children hate our freedom and democracy?

When asked about the number of people killed as a result of America’s invasion of Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks responded, in an unconscionable display of arrogance: “We don’t do body counts.”

Joe Stalin is famous for (a) killing millions and (b) saying that “When one person dies it is a tragedy. When a million die it is a statistic.” While neither Ms. Albright nor General Franks is remotely as evil as Stalin, both display a wanton disregard for the death of innocents. Moreover, there was negligible public outcry in America over their remarks.

I am not a pacifist. If another country comes here to fight a war then, dadgummit, let’s fight a war. However, Iraq has never done anything to us. Neither has Iran, with whom so many Iraq war groupies are Jonesing for a war. Indeed, it has been centuries since a Muslim country conquered a non-Muslim country.

And even if you believe the official story on 9/11, Iraq had nothing to do with it. (1) Moreover, the 19 hijackers purportedly dispatched by Osama bin Laden from some cave in Afghanistan are, they tell us, DEAD!!! You cannot fight a war or conquer a nation when you are DEAD!!! In the aftermath of 9/11, there was no invading army, no naval battle group in New York Harbor and no aerial bombing raids by the terrorist Luftwaffe.

9/11 – again, even if you believe the official story – was an attack, not an invasion. There is a constitutional provision for a measured response to such an action. It is called a letter of Marque and Reprisal. There was only one congressman who raised this point in the days after 9/11. His name was – surprise! – Ron Paul.

The most bloodthirsty warmongering people in America can be found in your evangelical megachurches. On the one hand, these churches preach biblical inerrancy. On the other hand, they recklessly disregard the Sixth Commandment – you know, the one about murder – as well as Proverbs 6:17, which tells us that God hates hands that shed innocent blood. They have turned the Prince of Peace into the prince of war.

Keyboard Kommando Michael Ledeen is supposed to have once said the following about American foreign policy: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." Ivory tower syndrome can be found both on the socialist left and the neocon right. Talking to right-wingers about war is like talking to left-wingers about abortion and communism. Neither wants to discuss what actually happens.

So the next time you see some horrific video of American military personnel torturing and abusing animals in Iraq, don’t be surprised. Our attitude toward life in general in the Arab world is atrocious. It is no different for soldiers than it is for private sector killers: those who abuse animals are more likely than others to abuse, torture and kill people.

Now, let’s look inward.

Americans strut around as if we are oh so morally superior to the rest of the world, yet at the same time we abort one million babies a year. Arabs are not the only people we dehumanize.

Also, there is more and more indifference on the part of American law enforcement with regard to animal life. This disregard for life also impacts humans.

At Ruby Ridge, the feds shot Randy Weaver’s dog before killing his wife and son. One of the very first things the feds did when laying siege at Waco was shoot the Davidians’ dogs. 51 days later, they would incinerate 80 innocent men, woman and children.

I believe Waco was a trial balloon to see how much the feds could get away with without incurring too much public wrath. They can get away with a lot, it turns out.

And it isn’t just in high profile examples of rogue law enforcement, either. There are numerous examples now of police shooting dogs while conducting drug raids. Radley Balko of the Cato Institute wrote a very fine piece on this tragic trend. You have to love how Balko describes a dog: “That loyal, slobbery, lovable, wide-eyed, fur-lined bag of unconditional love.”

As a friend puts it, in their own goofy way, dogs minister to your soul.

I close with three points.

First, no major American athlete has fallen so far as fast as Atlanta Falcon quarterback Michael Vick. Vick had a history of bad behavior, but it was his involvement with dog fighting that ended his career and landed him in the joint. That so many people were so outraged by Vick’s canine Gulag tells me that we are not totally done for as a nation. (Several people remarked that Vick had chosen the wrong profession. Had he been an abortionist, he would have been left alone.)

Second, if you have not yet seen the movie Amazing Grace, you need to. It chronicles the life of William Wilberforce, the Member of Parliament who spearheaded the charge to end the British slave trade. His compassion for animals is evident throughout the film. It turns out that Wilberforce also founded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. What a great man.

Finally, I keep hearing that America needs to leave Iraq “with honor”, whatever that means. There is no “honor” in invading a country that has never done a thing to harm you. There is no “honor” in the wholesale slaughter of innocents. We cannot end “honorably” what was so dishonorable to begin with.

(1) The best source I have seen debunking the official story on 9/11 are the three Loose Change documentaries.

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How dare you, Doug? Don't you know if we don't go after all those puppies the terrorists will win? -- AN in Ohio

RW in Tennessee reminded me of this Proverb: A righteous man hath regard for the life of his beast, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. -- Proverbs 12:10

" their own goofy way, dogs minister to your soul."

Tillman, the skateboarding bulldog, is an LA Dodger fan, a USC Trojan fan
and he is named after Pat Tillman. How cool can a dog be?

Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman