The saga of John Ashcroft’s backwash and I gets weirderer and weirderer.
I was on Allman and Crane on FOX talk radio 97.1 FM in St. Louis around 8 a.m. this morning talking about my efforts to sell the former Atorney General’s backwash on eBay. You can listen online at their site (or if you get frustrated with their buggy flash media player, I’m hosting it as well). I have to say, it was a strange way to wake up.
Allman gave me a really friendly intro, calling me a “mack daddy” at one point and plugging Big Muddy Records, which we of course always appreciate. This was nice, because I wasn’t sure if he was going to just yell at me like Papa Bear O’Reilly likes to do.
That’s so adorable.
But, as I do not listen to conservative FOX radio often, I did not know what to expect from Allman. He was, after all, former St. Louis Archbishop Burke‘s spokesman, and that dude sucked. I also knew that there was no way an anarchist like me was going to find much common ground with a guy who likes people like Ashcroft and Cheney, and who thinks “Guantanamo is a shining example of how great this country is”. Somehow I don’t feel that the Vatican would agree, but who knows? They sometimes like religious wars, too.
But Allman seemed to actually find the backwash funny, and was willing to let me speak my fair share, so I have to at least give him credit for that. That’s more than Papa Bear does.
So, to bury the lede, when we got around to talking about the backwash, he asked me if I would take a shot of John Ashcroft’s backwash out of a GOP shot glass for $97. That’s pretty gross, but I said yes. I’m not sure if that makes me a whore or a capitalist (is there a difference?), but I am confident it was the right choice. He suggested that it might make me smarter, too…
But I am left with some resonating concerns. At one point, Allman said, “Guantanamo is a Holiday Inn compared to the alternative, which would have been just shooting them on the spot. Which we actually could have legally done, but didn’t.” At the time, I couldn’t think of anything to say to that. I was genuinely shocked. That’s one of the most horrible things a person could say. I know he’s a shock jock, so I really hope he does not actually feel that way. I mean, these are people are are talking about. Real life people. No one could actually think such a cruel, lifeless thought, right?
Instead of challenging him, I addressed his assertion that these killings were legal and legitimate by pointing out that not only were they not, but that the wars themselves were neither legal or legitimate. At one point I made reference to an article about the mistreatment of Afghan prisoners (which is part of their huge report on Guantanamo). This point was, of course, not embraced. But this is the dance, I guess. It flows like a scene you’ve already performed 1,000 times.
But I can’t shake the idea that someone would not only condone this treatment of other people, but that they think it would have been OK for the U.S. Army to just shoot them on the spot. Watching people as they listen to the recording, they are always kind of smiling through it until they get to that part, and then the life is just drained from them. It’s like, in all the joking, we have managed to forget the very real consequences and victims we’re talking about. And when you realize that Ashcroft is not just a clown, but a man who made abusive, terrible decisions that have caused so much pain and horror for so many, it becomes hard to just laugh at the idea of taking a shot of the man’s backwash for $97.