Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Thirty four years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to one, Private England, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, giving a jaunty thumbs-up sign and pointing at the genitals of a young Iraqi, who is naked except for a sandbag over his head, as he masturbates the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. Three other hooded and naked Iraqi prisoners are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who are shown, hands reflexively crossed over their genitals who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that the photographs tell it all. England stands arm in arm with Specialist Graner; both are grinning we should do this and giving the thumbs-up behind a cluster of perhaps seven naked Iraqis, knees bent, piled clumsily on top of each other in a pyramid.

But in a larger sense we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. There is another photograph of a cluster of naked prisoners. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. Then, there is another cluster of hooded bodies, with a female soldier standing in front, taking photographs.

The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. Yet another photograph shows a kneeling, naked, unhooded male prisoner, head momentarily turned away from the camera, posed to make it appear that he is performing oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and hooded.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - smiling, arms crossed - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from bending over.

The earth too, is smiling.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?