Thursday, May 06, 2004


Shawshank Redemption was on again last night. As I watched the last half hour, I commented to my roommate's fiancee that the reason I like this movie is because it ends well. Everyone gets what they deserve. The bad guys get punished and the good guys end up on a beach in Mexico. But even as I said it, I couldn't help but think that it wasn't exactly true. At the end of the movie, Brooks is still dead and so is Tommy. And Andy will carry the scars of his wrongful imprisonment for the rest of his life. Real restitution is impossible for him. But at least he has the satisfaction of knowing that those who mistreated him suffered for their crimes.

That's what I hope to see come out of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. But you can sure punish the guilty. If justice is served, as the Iraqi people rightfully demand, then perhaps we can redeem ourselves of this mistake. Perhaps we can turn this disaster into an opportunity to demonstrate to the world the virtues of the (oft-maligned) American justice system.

The way I read the scriptures, the devil seeks to destroy God's plan and immiserate humanity, but God in his wisdom repeatedly turns diabolical catastrophe into a divine miracle. For instance, the devil leads Adam and Eve into partaking of the forbidden fruit, and they are expelled from the Garden of Eden. But from this seeming disaster springs all of humanity, all of us. Similarly, the Old Testament shows that the royal line of Christ depends on several couplings that were adulterous (Judah and Tamar, David and Bathsheba, etc.). When something bad happens in the scriptures, it often redounds to good because God will not suffer the devil to destroy his handiwork.

Something bad has happened in Iraq, something that could destroy the good work that is going on there. We must not let it. We must turn this to the good and redeem ourselves.

We have fallen off the horse for a moment. Let's cowboy up.


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