There have been a couple of encouraging signs of sanity lately that make me wonder if we've finally hit rock bottom and begun to see the light. I say that very cautiously, fully realizing that after the siege of the last five years, this could be grasping at straws. But hopefully they are the straws that break the proverbial camel's back.
First, there was the crystal clear message sent by voters in last week's election, a slam-dunk vote of no confidence. That is not an illusion because right on the heels of the election, Congressional Republicans are frantically re-thinking their budget cuts after the realization set in that they all of a sudden might not be able to get away with slashing out the heart of basic social services.
The most blatant sign that things might be a changing however was the bumper sticker that I saw today. It said "Impeach Bush". But that is not what was remarkable. What makes this one a little different is that it was on the back of an enormous Chevy Suburban. Hell, if those folks think it is time to pull the plug, all I can say is Amen.
But the truth of the matter is that for all the pain we have been through, it's going to get worse before it gets better. This isn't just a question of ending the war in Iraq, although that needs to be at the top of the agenda. The business of bringing the Bush Administration to justice for the horror they have wrought is going to be painful. Some very deep wounds have already been opened (think Katrina and Abu Ghraib just for starts) and more are coming. The part that is going to be the hardest is admitting that we've been had.
We are going to have to go way back to the beginning and come to grips with the fact that folks have been stealing elections in this country. We were caught a tad unawares in 2000, but in 2004 we were paying attention and as Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have documented in great detail, the vote in Ohio stunk worse than yesterday's fish. Even the GAO believes that electronic voting is subject to fraud. It is entirely likely that this country has had a non-elected President since 2001 and if we do not take immediate measures to insure the integrity of our vote, it will keep happening. And that doesn't even touch the subject of how you remedy the crime already committed.
Much harder than that, the scenario we've been given for September 11, 2001 needs to be reconsidered. Professor Stephen E. Jones at Brigham Young University has some questions that bear listening to. According to Jones, it is more plausible that the WTC buildings were brought down by pre-planted explosives than airplanes.
He offers numerous points to back up his theory, including that the buildings collapsed nearly symmetrically, which would be more likely caused by an explosion within the building than from being knocked down from the side. He also points out that no steel-framed building before or after has ever collapsed due to fire; however, steel can be severed by explosions. Dr. Jones is not a conspiracy theorist. He's not saying who did it, merely asking for an independent investigation.
The question that I have always wondered is whatever happened to the black boxes from those planes? Anyone seen them? The darn things always survive, so why have their tapes never been fully released? Like Dr. Jones, I'm not offering any theories, just asking questions. But if you consider that we know that the justification for the Iraq war was a rather deep pile of lies, it may well be time to go back and ask whether Afghanistan was just a prop in the march to Empire as well. We've already established that intelligence existed pointing to the possibility of such an attack and that it was not acted upon. At best that is a huge dereliction of duty. The unthinkable of course is that our government purposely allowed it to happen or even engineered it. We now know that the Gulf of Tonkin was a lie and that our government knew it at the time. Pearl Harbor wasn't a surprise either. We are the largest most powerful nation in the world and it seems worse than naive to think that we simply react to the actions of others.
This isn't just a matter of independent investigations and impeachment proceedings. The U.S. has clearly and repeatedly violated international law by torturing prisoners and denying them their rights in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other locations and in the use, now confirmed, of chemical weapons in Fallujah, and those are just the most blatant examples. It is time to name the crimes so that we may begin to heal.
Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network. Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Awakened Woman, Alternet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, The Progressive, Rain and Thunder, Z Magazine, Common Dreams and Information Clearinghouse.
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