May 11, 2004


I'm not outraged by Abu Ghraib. I don't like it, I wish it hadn't happened, and I do hope those guilty of these crimes are punished. But I'm not outraged.

I guess it probably has something to do with how easy outrage is these days, and how quickly it seems to fade away without anything significant changing -- which I wouldn't think true outrage would, or should, do. Every month there's another outrage that will lose the War on Terrorism, or the liberation of Iraq, or even the goodwill of the fine people of Europe. Every week there's a new outrage that is so terrible it drives people to march and be so angry they can't see straight, hence they imagine that there are anywhere from three to three-thousand people marching for every one there really is. Every day, George Bush, Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld does something that merits outrage from someone who, strangely enough, suddenly finds a microphone in their face and a camera in front of them. Of course, John Ashcroft seems to manage some outrage or other approximately every four hours or so. And global warming, the next Ice Age, the loss of the rainforests, the ozone hole, a comet, or something threatens to kill us all at any minute. Don't believe me? Just ask someone marching with three-thousand of their closest imaginary friends.

Meanwhile, true outrages go relatively unnoticed and unresolved as genocide continues in the Sudan, Zimbabwe is being destroyed by Robert Mugabe, and the United Nations still can't begin its twelve-step improvement program because it hasn't apparently hit bottom yet -- which it must do in the Blood Money for Oil scandal if it is to begin to get better; not to mention minor outrages like the scarcely believable conditions within North Korea, the death of tens of thousands in France last year because no one could be bothered to check on the old folks, the imminently preventable deaths of millions due to malaria, and rising anti-semitism while the generation that survived the holocaust is still with us. Never say "never again". Or is it never say never, again.

What makes these true outrages is that they are all as preventable as they are lamentable. Whereas, the ubiquitous faux outrage vomited up so easily by the professionally outraged continues to distract as all from the real outrages all around us.

And that is a true outrage.

Posted by Charles Austin at May 11, 2004 10:12 PM