Wednesday, June 15, 2005
INTERVIEW OF JUBAL DURFEE (Part I)
I actually found Durfee to be an interesting and loquacious character, if somewhat long-winded. I think he rather delighted having the audience of someone he obviously considered to be from the “enemy’s camp.”
We spoke in the café area of the gun show. We got fresh cups of coffee and then I started by asking him what he did for a living. He said he was in the roofing business. Married to a school teacher with two sons, Durfee has been active in local politics for about ten years, and, for the last three, served as Republican precinct chair in his little hometown of Bee Keeper, Arkansas. In addition to his politicking, Durfee is a Civil War reenactor—a sergeant in the Bee Keeper Irregulars of the 33rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment. He said he was one of hundreds of reenactors who performed in the movie, Gettysburg. I asked him if he considered himself a “Neocon” or just a “garden variety Republican.”
JUBAL: Well, I ain’t sure what the difference is. What I think I am is just a good ol’ garden variety patriot.
THOLOS: What is that to you?
JUBAL: A patriot? Well, that’s somebody who loves God, this country and its flag—in that order. And he loves ‘em so much that he’s willin’ to put his life on the line for ‘em. And anybody who doesn’t love those three things, and ain’t a hundred percent willin’ to die for ‘em at the drop of a hat, well they just don’t need to be here. They need to be somewheres else.
THOLOS: Would you want your son to fight in a war?
JUBAL: You bet I would. His older brother, James, is in Iraq right now, fightin’ for freedom. I would hope that when the time comes—and I’m pretty sure it will—that Billy will take his rightful place on the front lines and be a man.
THOLOS: Even if it means coming home in a body bag?
JUBAL: I hope that don’t happen. But yeah. Even then. I’m prepared for whatever happens. And I think he is, too. See, when you have God in your life, then you have a strength and a power that nothing and nobody can defeat. It prepares you. It’s your foundation. Your armor. I would no more dream of leavin’ my house in the morning without God in my heart, than I would head off to the firing range without bullets in my AR-15. And I’ve tried to give my boys that foundation, so they can get out there and do what they have to do when the time comes.
THOLOS: Did you fight in a war, yourself?
JUBAL: I sure as hell did. I was in Desert Storm, 110th Armored Division. And you know what? I was never afraid for one minute, even though I knew every minute that I could die. Now, that’s the power of God. (He laughs.) I just don’t see how anyone can deny God. I’m living proof that God exists. And so are you. And so are all these people here—all living proof that God is real. See that dog over there? That’s proof that God exists.
THOLOS: What about all the children in Iraq, killed or maimed by our bombs? Are they proof of God’s existence?
JUBAL: They’re proof that God don’t tolerate our enemies.
THOLOS: Children are our enemies?
JUBAL: When you’re exterminatin’ roaches, you don’t worry about the babies, do you? In fact, it’s better if you can get the babies along with the eggs. At least, that’s what I was always told. I don’t mean to sound callous, but these kiddoes are bein’ raised by their parents to hate Americans. Sooner or later they’ll strap bombs on theirselves and come after us.
THOLOS: I see. You said that a patriot was somebody who loves God and this country—meaning, the U.S. Do you think it’s possible there could be patriots in other places in the world who love their countries as much as we love ours?
JUBAL: Well, I just think God has a plan for America—that’s what I meant by that. He has a mission for us. He wants us to spread Democracy throughout the world, like we’re doin’ right now in Iraq. And if everything goes as planned, we’ll be doin’ the same thing in Syria and Iran, and probably North Korea. Maybe China later on down the line. Hell, I just might sign up again, myself. I’m not too old, yet. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a chance to fight alongside my two boys. Whoo-ee! Wouldn’t that be somethin’! I can’t imagine a better high than that. See, I believe God wants us to spread His word among all these nations, and get as many as possible to turn away from their false religions and false gods.
THOLOS: Is the Muslim religion a false religion, in your opinion?
JUBAL: Why, hell yes! Are you shittin’ me? It’s a heathen religion, straight from the devil’s mouth. Personally, I wasn’t all that upset over that Newsweek article. You know, the one about them flushin’ the Koran down the toilet? Oh, I know they wrote it to make more people hate us, and I’m glad to see ‘em gettin’ their butts kicked for it. But hell, that wasn’t the first time I’ve heard of the Koran bein’ flushed down a commode or stomped on by some guard. But I just don’t know why they’re makin’ such a big fuss over it. I mean, just because a few people got inflamed? Is that all? Uh, hey, fellas! I think that’s the point, ain’t it--to inflame all these Middle Eastern bastards? Ain’t that the whole reason for this war? For any war? To inflame the other side? Duh! What do they think this is, a garden party? Shit, man, these are our enemies. That’s their book. What else are we s’posed to do with it? Put it on display somewhere? Treat it like the Holy Grail? Shoot. Gitmo ain’t s’posed to be a day at the spa anymore than San Quintin. That ain’t why it’s there. Or Abu Grab, either. (Ghraib.) Nope, you’ll never convince me that George W. Bush was upset over that! No way, man! You notice he ain’t said nothin’ about it. Not a peep out of him. He lets Scotty (Scott McClellen) do all his talkin’ for him. Gotta placate the lefties, I guess. But we all know G.W.’s a Bible man all the way. I’ll bet you my entire gun collection he was slappin’ his thigh when he heard about them flushin’ the Koran.
THOLOS: Do you think that detaining people indefinitely in places like Guantanimo and Abu Ghraib is okay? And do you think torturing them is acceptable, according to our Bill of Rights and the Geneva Conventions?
JUBAL: Well, I think our new Attorney General—
THOLOS: Alberto Gonzales--
JUBAL: Yeah, Gonzales. I think he was dead on about the Geneva Conventions bein’ quaint nowadays. And as far as rights are concerned, I don’t think we should be extending rights to terrorists. That’s my opinion. Rights are for people that earn ‘em.
THOLOS: Most of the detainees have not been proven to be terrorists.
JUBAL: Well, that’s a hard thing to prove, I suppose. But we can’t afford to take chances with people like this. People who hate us because of our freedoms. And as far as torture goes, well, I think the press kinda blew that out of proportion, which we all know is somethin’ they're inclined to do. Okay, so maybe we’re shockin’ some prisoners a little, or stackin’ ‘em like cordwood. Hell, I’ve seen pictures of high school cheerleaders formin’ human pyramids and I never heard anybody boo-hooing over that, or callin’ it “torture.” I’ve heard of fraternity hazings that were worse than what that little gal (Lindy England) was doin’ to those ol’ boys at Abu Grab (Ghraib), puttin’ dog collars on ‘em, havin' 'em jack off, and all that. C'mon, lighten up everybody! She was just havin’ a little fun, there. Any Boy Scout would'a done the same in her position. The point is you gotta be able to interrogate the enemy, get information out of him, somehow. And how you gonna do that? I doubt if he’s gonna give up anything by offerin’ him a tootsie roll. At least we’re not cuttin’ their heads off, like they’re doin’ to our people. But, hey, maybe we oughta jump in and do some of that ourselves. You know, for every one of ours, cut off one of theirs. And run it on TV, too. Broadcast it all over Iraq. I bet that’d give those insurgents somethin’ to think about.
THOLOS: Yes, I imagine it would.
JUBAL: Instead, what are we doin’? We’re punishin’ the guards—that girl and her boyfriend—puttin’ ‘em in prison! For what? For doin’ their goddamn jobs! Now, that’s just plain crazy! First place, it sends the wrong message to our enemies. Makes us look soft. Second, it confuses our own people. You can’t say to a soldier one day, “Okay, boy, you’re a killer, now, so go on out there and kill people.” And then the next day, say to him, “Wait! Hold the phone! I didn’t mean kill just anybody. I only meant kill the right ones—just the ones we approve of. Government certified.” Now, you got yourself a confused soldier out there, ‘cause you’ve put doubt in his mind. Doubt is poison to a soldier. Now, he’s liable to hesitate before he pulls the trigger and that moment’s hesitation could cost him his life or his buddies lives. Well, same thing with these guards. One day Rumsfeld's tellin’ ‘em to yank some Arab’s fingernails out with a pair of vice-grips, and the next day he's sayin’, “No, no, leave the fingernails. Just slap ‘em around a little. Or better yet, flush the Koran down the toilet.” And then still another day, he comes in sayin’, “Nope, don’t even think about flushin’ the Koran today. Oh, and by the way, if you don’t get these rules right, we’ll boot you out of the military and put your ass in prison for twenty years!” Well, I just think that’s the wrong way to treat your people. Now, I know Rumsfeld and Bush are worried about the moderates in the party. The softies. They don’t wanta appear to condone torture, even though we all know they do. And so do most Americans, if the ratings of that TV show, 24, is any indication. Ain’t a week goes by somebody don’t get tortured on that show, and nobody flinches over that. So I think they’re makin’ a bigger deal out of this than they need to.
THOLOS: You really think so?
JUBAL: Oh, sure. Look, you remember when that story broke in the news—about Abu Grab (Ghraib)? And they had all those pictures they took over there, the ones with that girl guard (Lindy England) and all them naked Arabs? Okay, I guess you could say it created a stink for awhile. Yeah, Rumsfeld might have broken a sweat for about half a minute. A few people, a few Congressmen, bitched and moaned for a week or two. They said how it was all so "shameful" and “un-American,” and all that bullcrap. You know, the same tired ol’ bunch of liberals raisin' a ruckus. By the way, did you ever see a dog wake himself up out of a deep sleep?
THOLOS: Beg your pardon?
JUBAL: You know, like an ol' coon dog? How sometimes, they’ll just sort of bark themselves awake? You've seen 'em do that, haven't you? Maybe a flea bit him, or somethin', so he barks himself awake. Then, what does he do? He gets up for a second, turns around, then drops back down, and in less than a minute, he’s asleep again. As if nothin' had happened. Know what I mean?
THOLOS: Sure, sure.
JUBAL: Well, these liberals kinda remind me of that dog. Once in awhile, they just kinda bark themselves awake. You know, they’ll blink and look around; maybe they’ll notice somethin’ goin’ on that offends their sensibilities a little bit. And that’ll make ‘em kinda barkey and gripey for a minute or two, like that ol’ dog. But it never lasts long. And pretty soon, you’ll see ‘em yawn, and turn around once or twice, and—plop!—back down they go! Before you know it, they’re off snoozin’ again, in a deep slumber, leavin’ the rest of us to get on with the work of the country. And that’s your liberals—especially the ones that pass for Congressmen these days. Point is, I don’t hear anybody complainin’ about torture. Do you?
THOLOS: How about Amnesty International?
JUBAL: Amnesty Who? C’mon, man, who gives a shit about what some “Amnesty” outfit thinks or says. Who are they, anyway? Nobody knows who they are. Nobody in this country, that’s for sure. Shit, that’s like sayin’ the U.N. don’t like somethin’. The U.N. didn’t like the war. So what? Now, we’re drop-kickin’ their asses. We’ll do the same with this Amnesty bunch. What I want to know is, does anybody in this country give a purple flyin’ shit about torture? That’s the real question, and the only one Bush needs to look at. How ‘bout it? Anybody in the press? In the Congress? Show me one Democrat or one Republican whinin’ over that issue today. What about the churches? Any Catholics worried about torture? No? How ‘bout Methodists or Jews or Presbyterians or Pentecostals or Disciples of Christ? Well, I can tell you right now, us Baptists ain’t losin’ any sleep over it, either. So, there’s your answer, George. Which means that all this hoopla over these guards is a waste of time. They’re just scapegoatin’ those poor bastards. They oughta put medals on ‘em and send ‘em back to work. I guarantee you nobody would notice. Michael Jackson—now there's what people are worried about. The trial of some deviant rock star. Or who Brad Pitt’s fuckin’ this week. I guarantee you that’s all people care about in this country.
(Look for Part II on this site!)