I will rearrange your scales, if I can



1. Time Magazine – You know, it was bad enough in April 2003 when Time reprinted its famous picture of Hitler with an “X” through his face, only this time with Saddam Hussein. I found the comparison utterly insane, given the relative atrocities of each, but this week, Time Magazine has thrown away any shred of journalistic sensibility by DOING THE SAME THING WITH AL-ZARQAWI.


What a bunch of insufferable, histrionic, jingoistic morons. Every surviving WWII vet (and surviving Jew, for that matter) should urinate on their Time subscription bill and send it back to the home office, currently located up this administration’s ass.

You know what, Time? I’ll make it easy for you. Since you’ve shown the logical progression of your thought processes, I’m going to go ahead and make the end-of-year cover for you:


2. Ann Coulter – Her re-arranging of historical facts is legendary, and her inability to write her way out of a wet cube of Jell-o is manifest, but why does Ann Coulter reserve her worst Cruelty© – so venomous that it had to be copyrighted – for those who have suffered the most? Her claim that 9/11 widows are “harpies” and “witches” that joyously revel in their husbands’ deaths is so inhuman that it makes me depressed just to repeat it.

When taken to task (kinda) by Matt Lauer, she did the only thing she knows how: “brazened it out” by being even more mean-spirited and cruel. Fucking Time Magazine even gave her more paragraphs to heap invective on these widows whose husbands were burned alive, allowing her to savage them further just because she doesn’t like their politics.

One of these things is true: either Ann actually hates the 9/11 widows and has no empathy for anybody who has ever had a member of their family murdered, OR she is using the controversy (and the innocent deaths of thousands of New Yorkers) to increase awareness and book sales. Both are such repellent ideas that it can only mean one thing: her heart is a cold, crusty place that is three times too small.

Why am I writing about it? Because her pulpit is so huge, every single word that can be said to the contrary MUST be said to the contrary. The key to living history is to CALL BULLSHIT WHEN IT HAPPENS, not wait until later when it’s easy to look back with a sanguine shrug. When Lucy reads this later, I want her to know we actually had an opinion.


3. The Guy Who Framed the Picture of Dead Zarqawi – You know, when I was in high school in Norfolk, Virginia, the only way to get the “Faces of Death” movie was to venture back into the porn section of Tracks Record Store on Granby Street. Now, thanks to the U.S. Government, we had our very own snuff picture on every website and newspaper page in the country.

When did our standards sink so low that we had to provide such disgusting proof that we had targeted another human being, killed him, took his picture, and invited the journalists of the world to ogle? The last time I remember that being cool was on the business end of a spike on London Bridge around 1668.

But it wasn’t just a picture. Someone had to actually go out and buy a frame for the photo. Something big, not too flamboyant, just the right amount of dash for our disembodied Iraqi insurgent head. Whoever this guy was, he went with a nice pine “casket wood” beveled look with a tasteful light stain, set against a classic Antique White matte. It takes a real smooth operator to frame a giant dead, bearded face and get the details just right.

There’s an old phrase in hoops, in the big college programs, which states “act like you’ve been here before.” It means winning with grace, no storming the court, no inappropriate gestures, just being cool. There’s other ways to show we got a bad guy besides emulating a 3rd Grade Show ‘n’ Tell class with audio-visual aids. You’d think we might want to act like we’ve been here before.

33 thoughts on “I will rearrange your scales, if I can

  1. eric g.

    Thank you for calling bullshit on the pics of the dead terrorist. We were all so (rightfully) horrified when this man chopped off hostages’ heads and held them up to the camera, but here we are, trumpeting his own dead face to all who will look and listen. When will this end?
    Don’t get me started on Ann Coulter. I get apoplectic when I so much as hear her fucking name these days…

  2. ken

    The whole framed-picture thing is in line with the rest of this administration’s ridiculous policies. They forbid the media from showing the coffins of those who gave the lives for this ‘war’ and get upset when Ted Koppel simply reads the names of those brave souls who were doing their jobs. Then the one thing they’ve arguably done ‘right’ (actually killing someone they meant to kill) they trumpet it to every camera that they can.
    Even sadder is that this ‘success’ seems to have bought them another six months. Just when polls had hit rock bottom this happens and bolsters the Pro-war camp, “See, we did something right.”

  3. Matt

    This might be the most. . . perplexing post I’ve yet read here. Zarqawi and Don Knotts. Nice. Does anyone not understand the very real need for confirming this terrorist’s death to both the combatants and non-combatants over there? (See the discussion had on this topic in last Friday’s thread.) Did we drag him through the streets by one of his legs, mutilating his corpse before stringing him up on a bridge and setting him on fire? (Does anyone recall where that particular scene occurred?) US corpsman reportedly provided first aid to Zarqawi for 20 minutes before he died.
    That this man is no longer able to continue his killing spree is very gratifying to anyone who values civilization, as evidenced in the press room when it was first announced. Of course, the only reporters who audibly cheered at the announcement were Iraqi journalists. American reporters don’t cheer American victories.
    “Then the one thing they’ve arguably done ‘right’…”
    Screw you, Ken. Our forces have had thousands of successes, never lost a single engagement with the enemy and have oftentimes placed themselves at personal risk to avoid civilian casualties, unlike our enemy who targets them. But hey, you support the troops! Right?

  4. ken

    Hey Matt-
    In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a level of decorum on this site and you seem intent on lowering that level by saying ‘screw you’ to me for expressing an opinion that differs from your own. At least I have the courage to link to something when I post here, so I’m somehow accountable for what I say, you don’t. How about next time you post, link to an e-mail or something where you’re accountable for what you say here.

  5. DFB's&T's

    Not to kick a good man while he is down, Ian, but the latest statement from the Special Counsel’s office says that Rove will not be charged with any wrongdoing and that this decision should “put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove’s conduct.”
    Just thought you’d want to know.

  6. Matt

    Sorry, Ken, your comment was just pig ignorant. I’ll remember your “level of decorum” the next time the subject of President Bush arises.
    And Ian has my contact information, by the way. You’ve got something to say to me, say it here.

  7. caveman

    “In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a level of decorum on this site and you seem intent on lowering that level by saying ‘screw you’ to me for expressing an opinion that differs from your own.”
    this is one of the funniest things I have ever read in my life.

  8. NOLAcathie

    No doubt Al-Zarqawi is the epitome of inhumanity, but g(l)orifying his killing is just as inhumane. Using violence to stop violence is akin to a parent slapping a child as he/she tells the child not to hit his/her brother or sister. The cycle has to stop, but who is courageous enough to be the first? Aren’t there any modern-day Ghandis?

  9. Steph Mineart

    “Our forces have had thousands of successes, never lost a single engagement with the enemy and have oftentimes placed themselves at personal risk to avoid civilian casualties, unlike our enemy who targets them.”
    Absolutely true — but the screw up is at the top, not with the troops. Ken’s talking about Bush when he said “the one thing they’ve done right” not the soldiers in the field.
    And Ian’s right; showing the picture is necessary to prove that he’s dead, but splurging on a framed print is grotesque and arrogant.
    No matter how brutal the guy was, he’s not Sadaam, and Sadaam is worlds away from Hitler. Time is making itself irrelevant with those covers, not making a statement.

  10. DFB's&T's

    Give me a break, people! If I had known there were going to be so many crybabies boo-hooing over the cycle of violence, etc., I would have bought a butt-load of stock in Kleenex last week. Geez, please grow some collective gonads.
    As for glorifying A-Zarqawi’s death, remember what happened when we showed pictures of the newly-captured Saddam? The photos showed him being examined by the medical staff of the military and some panty-waists swore he was being tortured. Shit, I am surprised that Bush is not laying Al-Zarqawi in the Capitol rotunda just to prove all the conspiracy theorists on the dailykos are nuts (as if that it hard to do).
    It is so easy for all of us to sit back and boo-hoo the cycle of violence. Why is it so easy for us? Because no one is shooting at us and there were not any bombs that exploded on the side of 17th Street in Wilmington this morning on my way to work!
    Do any of you REALLY believe that violence is never an answer? If you change the facts from the macro into the micro, I hope some of your thoughts would change. For example . . .
    John and Betsy live on a peaceful cul-de-sac. One of the other houses on the street, however, is home to the evil Bass family. The patriarch of the Bass family, Ernest T., has a penchant for getting drunk on the weekends and firing his shotgun in his front yard. Ooops, one weekend, he shot your neighbor’s kid (no big deal because the kid was an asshole anyway). Ooops, another night, he shoots your nephew visiting (this sucks, but your brother has two other kids). Third weekend, he stumbles into your front yard waving his shotgun as your two little boys play with their Legos on the front porch and your wife is watering her flowers. Do you:
    a. Walk down the sidewalk to reason with him — diplomacy.
    b. Rush your kids and wife into the house and pray that he’ll go away.
    c. Impose sanctions by shouting to him that you aren’t going to allow his kids to play hoops in your driveway anymore.
    d. Lay down covering fire with your pistol as your wife re-loads your shotgun.
    For those of you that choose A,B or C, Bonjour!
    For those of you choosing D, Semper Fi!

  11. lee

    I agree with NOLAcathie that violence has to stop somewhere. I know that there’s times when nothing can be done- if someone is standing on a building shooting people, then you’re going to do what you have to do to stop them. But where is the sorrow that we’ve even come to this place? When we parade that we’ve killed someone, that seems savage to me. We react with horror when others drag dead soldiers or citizens through the streets and glorify murder, so why would we do the same? Aren’t we becoming what we despise?

  12. Matt

    If you’re scratching your head as to why there are no Ghandis in the Middle East, you haven’t been paying attention. Such people are six-feet under. Saddam and Zarqawi are unlike the British, and that shouldn’t need to be explained.
    The Islamofascists have no compunction about killing innocents to impose their twisted views on the world. They would like nothing more than for us to follow NOLAcathie’s advice.
    Steph, Bush neither planned nor executed the attack on Zarqawi’s “safe house.” Our military did. Ken’s meaning was clear, and far more insulting than what I wrote. He can speak for himself, too, and since he chose not to clarify his remark in his response, I believe your interpretation is the strained one.
    Lee, we haven’t done the same. Placing a frame around a photo of a cleaned up photo of Zarqawi’s face to prove his demise is worlds away from dragging corpses through the street and hanging them from lampposts. Sheesh.

  13. Kelly in NC

    I actually heard someone on NPR ask a reporter about the frame the picture of Zarqawi was in. (I’m sorry, I can’t remember the interviewer or the reporter’s names. It may have been on the show Day to Day.) According to the reporter the frame is one that has been used for a number of photos and maps that need to be displayed during press conferences. Not specifically purchased or designed for this particular photo.
    Not defending or criticizing the photo – just throwing out the information.

  14. Tanya

    So, why frame the photo at all? Even if they were using one that was already lying around? Anyway, that seems indicative of the biggest picture, and that is Bush’s utter lack of constructive foreign relations. Period. The man is incapable of showing humility or respect to any other human being on the planet. And that bleeds all over his administration. Hell, if his own country despises him, how can he expect others to work with him on anything? I’m sure there are plenty of Ghandi’s in this world, they just don’t want anything to do with us right now.

  15. oliver

    See, that’s the difference between Coulter and Zargawi. Coulter would be seductively draped in a skimpy black dress in her death shot. Frame of elephant ivory, recently poached. That or burnt to a crisp beside her bunker.

  16. Matt

    Tanya, if they had stapled it to a 4-foot wooden stick or unfurled it from a scroll would you have been satisfied? I can’t believe we’re upset about a frame — a frame!!!

  17. Rebecca

    I’m confused as to why “US corpsman reportedly provided first aid to Zarqawi for 20 minutes before he died.” Seriously, why didn’t they just put a bullet in his brain? Wasn’t the idea to KILL HIM?
    I’m so relieved that nobody here is defending Ann Coulter. She’s completely insane.

  18. Matt

    Zarqawi would have a great deal of intel value if captured alive, of course, but it’s also our nature to provide medical aid to wounded enemy who have either surrendered or become incapacitated, as we have done time and time again in this war. The responding corpsman is said to have performed a tracheotomy to help facilitate breathing, but to no avail.
    I haven’t seen anyone defending Ann Coulter, though judging from her book’s Amazon ranking, such people must exist. She’s the right-wing version of Ted Rall, who you might recall also infamously attacked 9/11 widows, but from the left.

  19. xuxE

    we are all such media pawns.
    a week or so ago i read this eerily insightful analysis from this global intelligence guy george friedman and it gave me such a different read on what is going on. the media just wraps politics in this sterile package, with the presentation of the picture, etc., when in reality what’s going on is like global high stakes mafia wars. it’s the fucking godfather.
    i think what probably happened is that the sunnis or saudis gave zarqawi up. i bet he refused to give up the insurgency and make nice on the tri-party deal and they were like, buh-bye. then you see Bush suddenly show up over there for photo ops and it totally makes sense. i mean, i think there is a good chance this could mean the iraq presidency really takes hold, the iran issue is done, and we are about to exit the war.
    i mean, i feel the same way about the absurdity of all the violence. but at the same time, i just get to a point where i feel totally impotent just shaking my fist at media parade. what’s actually going on over there is much more significant than the dead head photo.

  20. Matt

    Yes, I would hope that more is going on than meets the eye on the pages of the NYT, for all our sake. I thought I heard reports that Jordanian Intelligence helped provide the location of Zarqawi, but I suppose it may be some time, if at all, before the facts come to light.

  21. Tanya

    Is there a link to the report you read that you can share? Sounds great, and I’d be interested in reading it…

  22. GFWD

    My answer choice is “d”, but then again, my wife may be a better shot than me, so I might be the one reloading.
    One of my friend’s husband is over in Iraq right now. Earlier this week, she sent me a picture of his men standing in the rubble of zarqawi’s former house.
    I thought the gilded frame depicting z’s dead head was a little much and asked her about it, since her hubby is closer to the action. She shared with me that the frame likely came from one of saddam’s former palaces. In her words, it’s not like they have a Michael’s or a Kinko’s down the street where they could have gotten a more understated frame.
    Whether we think it’s a little untasteful to show the photo in that manner, Matt is right about saying that at least we didn’t drag his body through the streets. And, more specifically, it’s just a head shot. We didn’t further defile him (not that I would care) by showing his naked torso or full body. It’s just a head shot–something you might get at the “Faces of Death Glamour Shots” in a mall kiosk.
    Some folks in that region and other places got all bent out of shape over a cartoon, for goodness sake. Do you think ANY depiction of z’s dead body would have been more tolerable?
    Ken and Matt, no more fighting on this blog UNLESS you arrange to meet in person and agree to broadcast the smackdown with a streaming live video feed. And you absolutely MUST get that announcer guy who does all of the introductions at the big marquee boxing matches: “Let’s get ready to R-R-RUMBLE!!” How big are you guys anyway? We need to get the tale of the tape for wagering purposes. I don’t want to blindly back one of you based solely on the strength of your BIG TALK only to find out that you’re just 110 lbs. soaking wet. Inquiring bloggers want to know.
    Finally, did anyone else see that the NCAA’s all-time leader in free throw percentage was arrested in durham with a blood alcohol level of .11 . . . where only a blood alcohol level of .08 is allowed?
    If not, check out these links:

  23. NOLAcathie

    Matt, I wasn’t giving advice because I don’t have any answers. It’s merely an observation from a idealist who can’t believe that violence returned is the only solution for violence given. And sometimes it seems like the line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” gets very blurry. Lee makes a good observation in asking if we’re not becoming what we despise.

  24. noj

    did anyone else see (and then buy) the NY Post which had the cover of Zarqawi with the voice bubble coming out of his dead mouth, saying “Warm up the virgins!” If you did not see it and you think i’m joking, i’m not. i bought it because i figure i’m not likely to see anything as tasteless as this for the rest of my life. until lindsay starts wearing banana hammocks…

  25. Matt

    GFWD, ok, as long as I get to wear an El Santo mask.
    noj, the NY Post always has a flare with headlines. One of my favorites was when some sleazebags were caught selling ash purportedly from Ground Zero. The headline read “Ash-holes.”

  26. GFWD

    Matt, the El Santo mask is fine . . . but please God, don’t don the tights! I don’t want to see your Nacho Libres.

  27. Zel M.

    As for the original points:
    1. Time Magazine has long been irrelevant, especially in the internet age, so I am not surprised in their hyperbole. I also agree that while Saddam is not on the same block as Hitler, you could argue that they at least lived in the same zip code.
    I do think it’s funny that one would say Saddam and Hitler are not comparable, but many ultra-libs have argued that Bush and Hitler are of the same vein. I also think it is hilarious that someone would think Time is up the Bush administration’s rear end. Interesting…
    2. As for Ann Coulter – please do not take this as defending what she said, but I think her choice of words completely obscured a legitimate issue, which is the use of victims’ families to advance a political agenda. The mother who lost a son in Iraq and is vehemently against the war seems to get far more media play than the grieving father who supports the effort despite the loss of his child.
    And the coffins are the same issue. Every night on the news, we get a count of today’s dead in Iraq. Do we need the coffins to confirm that fact? No, the only hope is that showing the coffins will stir some visceral response. This, I believe, is Coulter’s ultimate, albeit very poorly made point.
    3. As for the picture of al-Zarqawi, I truly cannot believe there is any intelligent discussion about whether or not the picture was framed! Maybe it was on thin paper and would not stand on its own on the easel. Maybe they didn’t have any cardboard and tape at that particular moment.
    The current head of evil in Iraq has been eliminated. Celebrate it, deal with it, but move on already!

  28. kent

    Ian and I were both in Paris when Zarqawi bought it, eating our freedom fries and mussels. It sure isn’t the huge deal in Europe it seems to have been here. Since Matt seems to ably argue the ‘kill em all and let God sort em out’ line, maybe I can contribute the pacifist line, or at least my personal, pacifistic line on things.
    If someone is a ‘bad guy’ it is better to capture them and give them their day in court, than to drop 500 pound bombs on them. To just drop bombs on someone, even as big an asshole as Zarqawi, means that the US is claiming an absolute moral authority. We knew he was a bad guy, so we killed him.
    But the same sort of absolute moral authority is what Zarqawi and his ilk are also claiming. This, for me, creates an immoral situation — if we’re willing to decide people are bad, and then kill them with no due process beyond muzzle velocity, we may still be better than those like Zarqawi, but we’re descending dangerously into the ethical murk where he was so gleefully swiming.
    Claiming absolute moral authority is a trap. Guantanemo, Abu Gharaib, and Haditha all put the lie to any claim of moral high ground. As my rockribbed, conservative, Mormon grandma Klea always said “one must avoid even the appearance of evil.”
    It seems to me that the USA has lost all credibility as a force for good in Iraq. Given all that was wrong about going to war in the first place, and the INSANE way the war has been disastrously proscecuted since then, how are we better than the ‘bad guys?’ Is it just that we’re better because we have more guns and bombs? Are we still doing good, even as we do evil things like torture prisoners, and shoot women and children?

  29. ken

    Matt- Does your employer know how much time you spend here? I counted and 7 of the 31 (before this one) comments were you responding in rabid, foaming disagreement with just about anything anybody had to say. Steph’s assessment of my comment was right on, I find fault with the administration, not the troops. The troops (who I do support) are doing an extremely difficult job with increasing reticence. Fewer and fewer troops believe in their cause anymore, yet still they go out there everyday and put their lives on the line for a bunch of politicians who did everything in their power (and daddy’s) to avoid any sort military service or at least any combat duty. Except John Kerry and John McCain who served with honor and dignity at a time when libs like me didn’t support any troops, no matter what war they were fighting.
    I’m all for the Pay-per-view special, by the way…I look fabulous in spandex.

  30. Matt

    You’re a riot, Ken. Don’t ever change.
    Round 2 tomorrow? My docket’s not so full that I can’t spare the few minutes required.


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