Fresh from his victory lap around Bhopal, Andrew ("whatta") Card has decided to cash in his chips before the indictments. Whatever went on between GWB and his chief of staff in that sultry tropical land will probably never be revealed. ("What happens in Delhi, stays in Delhi.") The fact that the CEO of Dow Chemical feels free to travel in India says a lot about the atrophied sense of social justice among those in power there.
Doc posted a lengthy examination of our response to the war this morning. He calls it "War in pieces." It brought tears to my eyes. I mean that in a good way. The emotion I felt reading Doc's reflections and the thoughts of so many concerned bloggers around the world is something we all can share. It was that "lump in the throat" you get watching a really good movie, listening to powerful music, hearing a speech filled with truth.
Doc examined writing from dozens of sources, from Iraqis and US soldiers, from American bloggers and pundits, from the left and the right. There is so much information and perception in what he quotes from all those sources that it is almost impossible to find a point of entry for discussion.There are so many things I agree with in what Doc presents that it would be small and mean-spirited to pull apart what he wrote over the differences. One of the observations I found most compelling was this:
... we've lost our sense of what Good Governance is. In the midst of our prosperity, I feel a deep sense of ennui in the country, not unlike what I sense might follow a coup d'etat. In fact, many of us have never gotten over the sense that something very like a coup happened when the Supreme Court sided with Bush on the ambiguous Florida results in the 2000 election. That was a constitutional crisis, right there, and it was resolved in a creepy kinda way. Meaning, it was never resolved. I think it left the nation with a form of cancer. Maybe it's benign, but I don't think so.
I suspect this must be what it felt like during the prosperous years of the eighties in Iraq under the despot. The oil revenues were feeding a growing middle class, the people were unfettered by the sectarian mugging that had brought chador back to the women of Tehran, but absolute power was found in the palaces on the river. True freedom was compromised by totalitarianism. Here in America, we have all the creature comforts, but we are beginning to know the boundaries that a war on terror dictates.
I watched a good movie the other night, Samuel Jackson and Juliette Binoche in In My Country. The movie is about South Africa, truth and reconciliation. I was moved by the hard-boiled racist Afrikaaners' characterization of the ANC insurgency as "terrorism." The brutality of their own occupation was excused by the exigencies of apartheid "freedom." Social and political circumstances seldom map one-for-one when we compare a situation. Viet Nam was quite different from Iraq. But this use of "terrorism" as an excuse for repression needs to be surfaced.
Anyway, Doc's thoughtful post is worth reading. I'm sure it will bring up a lot of thoughts and feelings for anyone who give it a read.
In August 1967 three years had passed since Lyndon Johnson's Gulf of Tonkin charade, the proximate cause for active US engagement in Vietnam, a morass that resulted in 58,184 US combat deaths. As the US entered the fourth year of war, an organized resistance emerged at home, a polarization in public life that informed American politics with the desire for peace and social justice for the next fifteen years.
The election of the senex, Ronald Reagan, put an effective end to those dreams and from that time forward the right wing has consolidated power in the US.
Three years ago it was clear to many of us that the Bush regime had committed a terrible crime and led the US into a war that can't and won't be won, led us into a war for combat bases outside of Saudi Arabia to project force into an oil rich area to protect and expand the interests of the global energy corporations. It was clear to us that shadows were falling...
Here's Doc Searls on my certitude three years ago...
...do you really believe the best thing for the World would be for the US to pull out now and leave one of the cruelest dictorships in modern times at the helm in Iraq, with all the cruel and innocent deaths that would follow in the wake of such a move.
"No," Doc said, "I don't. Now that we're in there, I want us to finish with minimal loss of life on all sides. I hope we take out Saddam Hussein's regime and return the country to its oppressed people. Then I hope we go home."
And while Doc's and Tom's are the reasonable hopes of peaceful men, I think things have gone too far. These hopes are impossible. And to wish for the impossible is delusional. Yet to cast a gimlet eye on the world stage and to accept that our own country is being held hostage to the interests of a high caste of modern industrialists whose goals are being masked by a chase after shadow figures, evil men who frighten the American electorate in large part because of the images Rupert Murdoch and his cronies convey of them day after day -- to accept this is enormously difficult. Because with this acceptance comes the knowledge that right action is required. And the right action that is required seems so hopeless, so alienated, so out of touch. But Dennis Kucinich and Tammy Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney and Barbara Lee and the thirty or so others who can be counted on in Congress to speak truth as they see it are not sufficient to our cause. And the strongest voices for peace in the Senate, the Paul Wellstones, the Mel Carnahan's... well, they've met the same fate as the Kennedy scion in light plane "accidents." I wonder what is the next great military challenge Rumsfeld and Bush and Cheney have in mind for us. I wonder if they even know.
Some strong yet subtle shit in there. Deep too. Especially in that last line. I often wish I could match the certitudes of certidudes like Frank and Andrew and Michael and Charles. But I can't. Deep down I'm a pacifist, but just as deeply I'm a libertarian too. Go figure.
I think one of our countries greatest losses since Vietnam has been the loss of an understanding of proper governance, the loss of a willingness to entrust public policy to good people who serve us as elected officals and civil servants.
And Doc's a libertarian. "Go figure." No offense Doc, but we need a better answer than libertarianism.
In 2001, when my Senator Russ Feingold did not stand in the way of the Ashcroft nomination for Attorney General, I exercised my right to be disenchanted with him, to criticize his naivete, to oppose him at every turn unless and until he found a way to redeem himself in my eyes. I have contributed no money to him, I have responded openly and negatively to every questionnaire and survey his office has provided, and I have told his staff that he lost my vote when he voted for Ashcroft.
I am not the only one to have given him this kind of feedback. We are looking for ethical leadership, a leader with principles. I'll support Feingold for national office and I'll oppose any Democrat who doesn't support him and his censure motion. The line is drawn in the sand. There is no real hope for a Democratic Party resurgence because that party is so hopelessly corrupt and tied to the new American fascism, albeit in a different way from the Republicans. But there is hope that the people can begin to turn this big ship of state before it is beached on the sands of economic ruin, or worse. There is hope that we can return to clarity regarding government and community, that we can understand anew why we organize a government for public good, and who has the public good in mind.
Respect Russ Feingold. And you might want to catch the clip of Feingold and Jon Stewart at One Good Move.
Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?
The reasons were fooled, Zinn says, lie in "...an absence of historical perspective" and "...an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism." The essay ends with these paragraphs (emphases added):
What is the idea of our moral superiority based on? Surely not on our behavior toward people in other parts of the world. Is it based on how well people in the United States live? The World Health Organization in 2000 ranked countries in terms of overall health performance, and the United States was thirty-seventh on the list, though it spends more per capita for health care than any other nation. One of five children in this, the richest country in the world, is born in poverty. There are more than forty countries that have better records on infant mortality. Cuba does better. And there is a sure sign of sickness in society when we lead the world in the number of people in prison — more than two million.
A more honest estimate of ourselves as a nation would prepare us all for the next barrage of lies that will accompany the next proposal to inflict our power on some other part of the world. It might also inspire us to create a different history for ourselves, by taking our country away from the liars and killers who govern it, and by rejecting nationalist arrogance, so that we can join the rest of the human race in the common cause of peace and justice.
Thanks to Cyndy for the link.
Yesterday's protest March in Madison was among the largest peace demonstrations we've had here in the last three years. Joining hundreds of thousands of people around the world, a couple thousand Madisonians marched yesterday to mark the beginning of the fourth year of America's illegal presence in Iraq, and the fifth year of constant war under the Bush regime.
I've posted pictures on FlickR. Best protest sign: "Somebody give the poor bastard a blow-job so we can impeach him."
It was pointed out to me that it's not fair to shame people who weren't on Nixon's enemy list. A lot of people weren't even born when that evil archetype was role modeling for Bush the Younger.
If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
- Hunter S. Thompson
Regardless of whether you were on that bastard's list, too young to be on it, too apathetic, or simply misinformed, I'd urge you to do what you can to get on the wrong side of the Imbecile In Office (IIO) this weekend. Bush, the miserable son-of-a-bitch is hovering at 33% approval ratings (which is proof that at least 1/3 of the people at any time can be convinced that dog vomit is a fine souffle). His ratings will nevber improve, but until we pry him out from under his rock, and burn down Dick (Quail-gunner) Cheney's Fortress of Solitude, we are at their mercy. They can detain us, deprive us of our rights, torture us, even kill us in the name of a war that exists only in their own ideology. THERE IS NO WAR ON TERROR. There is only the neoconservative movement that is consolidating power in the hands of a statist corporate elite. This shit is so obvious that if this were 18th century France, the guillotine would be working day and night to put an end to it.
Effective and enforceable international law is the only effective way to encounter terrorists. And bin Laden and Bush should be sitting in irons each waiting for their trial to play out.
How many of you plan action this weekend to protest the illegal, imperialist war of aggression that is bankrupting the United States and dividing the world along religious and ethnic lines in order to preserve the multinational oil companies' oligopoly?
This weekend we who stand against the war are marking the beginning of the fourth year of the Bush family war. There is a protest planned for a location near you. Join it.
How long has it been since you've been wiretapped? Were you on Nixon's enemies list? No? Shame on you then. Here's your chance to redeem yourself.