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I suppose the crusty, cynical response would be to berate the American people for lavishing so much love and affection on a freakishly talented $30 million race horse, at the same time our nation is busy spending its blood and treasure on a brutal, dehumanizing war in Iraq. During the months of Barbaro’s failed rehabilitation, how many Iraqi civilians and US soldiers lost their lives or limbs? How many children lost their parents? How many parents lost a son or a daughter?


But I see another side to this seemingly misprioritized compassion, and while it may not paint our species in the most flattering light, it does portray a human quirk that I find oddly endearing. I’m talking of course about our innate ability to distract ourselves from the horrors of everyday life, and to find beauty in a world filled with ugliness… much of our own making.

It’s almost charming.

Quite. I can’t say why, but the most affecting section of Imperial Life in the Emerald City regarded the cats. Many residents of the Green Zone had adopted local cats, fed them, given them names and shots, and made plans to take the home. At some point, it was decided that the cats were a menace. Security forces in the Green Zone went from apartment to apartment, tracking down and removing the cats without permission of the owners. It was odd that, in all of that death, it was the plight of the cats (and their distraught owners) that really got to me. I think d’s discussion of the pigs gets us in the same place.

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