View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Don't Underrate Symbolism 

This morning was the first time I had heard the idea that we should demolish the Abu Ghraib prison as a symbolic gesture. So far, I have heard both Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity dismiss the idea as "mere symbolism." Well, don't underrate symbolism. Symbolism matters. On September 11, I remember seeing a flag on the television. It was probably the most beautiful thing I could have imagined at that moment, and not just because it was color after a day of nothing of drab gray skyscrapers and their remnants. Green probably wouldn't have done it for me just then.

So maybe the symbolism of demolishing the prison would have worked, just like pulling down Saddam's statue last year, or Lenin's or Dzerzhinsky's last decade. It's probably too late for that now. But some post-courts-martial pictures of the offending soldiers, doing a little hard time of their own, that might help.

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