“Our focus is not on the past. It’s on the future.”
-- Scott McClellan, White House Spokesman.
Beyond the incredulity of the president’s response to a growing body of evidence that his administration cooked the books to justify an illegal and unjustified war, the crime is not limited to the past. It is ongoing and has no end in sight.
When you are caught in the process of committing a crime, whether it is a common burglary or a war of naked aggression, you do not ask leave to consummate the act. Should this be any less apparent when there are hundreds of thousands of lives in the balance?
This nation went to war on allegations our leaders knew with absolute clarity were false and malicious. Stubbornly clinging to the lie while slandering those who bring the truth to public light only compounds the crime with arrogance and obstruction -- the very crimes that ultimately ended the reign of Nixon.
Under the leadership of this president, America is directly responsible for the massive destruction of an innocent nation’s infrastructure, a monumental waste of desperately needed resources, and the loss of more lives than we are willing or able to count.
The defenders of war and the White House may be right in one respect. The Downing Street Memo is nothing new. It is like waiting for an autopsy to confirm a death. After a steady stream of revelations and testimonials from impeccable sources such as Ambassador Joseph Wilson, counter-terrorism analyst Richard Clarke, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, as well as the targeted leaks of the CIA, British Intelligence and the State Department, anyone who did not know that the war was ordained at Bush V. Gore, was not following the news. Anyone who did not know that intelligence was shaped to policy is deliberately uninformed.
Unfortunately, the White House press corps (also know as the American mainstream media) has become very adept at obscuring the truth with subterfuge. Like a mantra, the lies of war are repeated until they become accepted truths. Our leaders were betrayed by a massive intelligence failure. Like an illusionist, the war propagandists offer up an endless parade of dazzle, titillation and outrage. The bug-eyed runaway bride gains more attention than the affairs of state (The people want to know!) and Congress follows suit by calling a special session to decide the fate of Terri Schiavo.
It has become necessary to repeat the truth over and over again until the most reticent of news outlets can no longer ignore it. As it was in the days of Watergate, so it is today. Both the media and the political powers are entrenched. Their primary motive is not to reveal or embrace the truth but to secure their power base by any and all means.
At the time of Watergate, however, it was the blessing of this nation that the Washington Post was an island of integrity in a sea of indifference. The blessing now is that the internet has given birth to an alternate universe of knowledge, information and analysis. Neither the Times nor the Post has the power to ignore Memogate to a quiet death. The bloggers gave it wings and they will keep it flying. Members of Congress are jumping on board not out of courage or a sudden resurgence of conscience but of desperation. The truth is coming out. Like the bulging waters of a broken dam, those gutless politicians who are not braced for impact will be swept away like yesterday’s news. Those who voted for the war, the Patriot Act and the continued occupation, who christened Freedom Fries and chastised the antiwar movement for treachery and fanaticism, are scrambling now for higher grounds. The warning has sounded; the tsunami is upon them.
Those of us who recognized the truth and opposed the war from its inception owe it to the collective conscience of the nation to continually point out that it was never difficult to decipher. George Bush may be charming at a certain level to a certain segment of society but he was never good at hiding the truth. He wanted war so bad he flaunted it like a chest-thumping gorilla. He ordered Shock and Awe while the disarmament of Iraq was literally in progress just so he could mark the anniversary of Daddy’s War with his own. It could not have been more obvious.
Those who wish to jump on the antiwar, anti-occupation bandwagon now, you are long overdue and welcome but do not ask for special recognition. Let it be recorded in history that America’s political leaders (with the exception of the Congressional Black Caucus and very few others) were slow to act and that they deferred until shifting public opinion made it tenuous not to declare opposition.
As for those who continue to support the president, his wars, his occupations and his doctrine of perpetual war, may whatever deity you confide in (for I am told you are people of faith) forgive you. As you stood with the president, so may you fall. It is very late in the day and there is a price to be paid in blood, treasure and political capital for every moment we continue to prolong the inevitable.
We have lost another war we should never have begun. We have darkened the dignity of the nation. We have dimmed the light of freedom and democracy. We have lowered the flag in mourning and in shame and we have held it to public ridicule.
We cannot regain what we have lost by continuing to prosecute the occupation and expanding the war to other nations under the familiar Vietnam fantasy that just a little more will turn the tide. There is no winning an endless war and the enemy we have chosen to fight (ultimately, the entire universe of Islam) will never yield. We can only hope to limit the damage, make amends and reparations.
Let us begin now, before another life is lost or another dollar cast to the wind, by announcing the withdrawal of all American troops and simultaneously removing the fundamentally flawed Commander-in-Chief that led us tragically astray.
Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II. The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the Albion Monitor, FirstPeoplesCentury, Trinicenter, Global Research and other notable sites. The Jazzman Chronicles are available at City Lights Bookstore in SF. Visit his website: www.jackrandom.com.
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