Friday, July 21, 2006

Israel, Howling Wolf, and Stem Cells, Oh Joy

Note the first! In these fractious times, the US Congress finally put aside their squabbling yesterday and came together long enough to... issue a resolution affirming Israel's right to defend itself. What the hell, why not? Israel's defending itself has so far resulted in roughly 300 dead Lebanese civilians to roughly 12 dead Israeli civilians and 12 or 13 dead Israeli soldiers. That 1:25 soldier-to-civilian casualty ratio roughly mimics what we have going in Iraq (2500+ US soldiers times 25 equals about 62,500 dead Iraqis, give or take a couple thousand).

So of course the Congress wants to give moral authority to Israel. It fits quite nicely with the rationalizations for Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Mahmoudiya. You know, the "everyone else is doing it" defense. Why the Democrats jumped on board is beyond me, but I'm near the point of giving up trying to understand.

Note the second! Did anyone else notice the little blip that wasn't? The breathless announcement that
One or more Iranians witnessed North Korea's recent missile tests, deepening U.S. concerns about growing ties between two countries with troubling nuclear capabilities, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.
My own reaction was something along the lines of... how do you say... "Yeah, right, whatever." Funny how lying your way into a war makes people wary of each subsequent attempt to fire up a new war.

What else... ah, yes, note the third! The stem-cell veto. The Snowflake kids. The fetishizing of the fetus marches on relentlessly, with W making it crystal clear that the potential life represented by 400,000 microscopic clumps of cells languishing in liquid nitrogen outweighs the actualized lives of hundreds of thousands of functioning, thinking, feeling children and adults who are suffering from any number of syndromes and ailments that might one day be alleviated through stem-cell therapy.

So many dots to connect. The primacy of the fetus. The increasing power of ideologue pharmacists to deny not only emergency contraception but routine birth control as well. The increasing influence of religious fundamentalists who wish to outlaw birth control even for married couples. The federal guidelines encouraging all post-pubescent women to consider themselves pre-pregnant and frame their personal healthcare in terms of preparing for gestation. The fashion pages gushing that pregnancy is the new chic. And now the official White House policy of encouraging adoption of throwaway extra 5-day-old embryos (142 Snowflake kids so far! 399,858 to go!) and forbidding the use of any to develop treatments for diseases that are guaranteed to cause profound suffering, degradation, and ultimately early loss of life for thousands of existing people every year.

W doesn't want "innocent life" destroyed for stem-cell research. You know, this adherence to the concept of Original Sin jumping onto babies as soon as they flop out of the birth canal and automatically disqualifying them for consideration by the GOP is getting old. Is my co-worker's 11-year-old daughter, freshly diagnosed with diabetes, not an innocent life? She's been out for 11 years, going on 12, and dreams about boys, but methinks she hasn't gotten around nearly enough to have lost the "innocent" tag. She got whacked hard with the diabetes stick thanks to genes that shut down her pancreas, not through any fault of her own. My ex-sister-in-law's mother is struggling with early onset Alzheimer's. She's a church-going, God-fearing Baptist farmer's wife who with her husband raised up four friendly, polite, caring kids in rural North Carolina, the sweetest and most generous soul I've ever met. Am I to believe that her life is outweighed on the cosmic scales by a handful of blastocytes that have never seen the light of day, much less had a single coherent thought or faced hard choices and moral dilemmas and still come down on the side of goodness?

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