Monday, October 23, 2006

The Politics of War

posted by PeterAtLarge
click here for Podcast!

So now you and your people are suggesting, Bush, that those responsible for the mounting violence in Iraq are motivated by the intention to ensure a Republican defeat at the elections next month. Another arrogant piece of sophistry! These people hate Americans, Bush, not Republicans. I have to believe that the vast majority of Iraqis could care less who's in control of Congress on the far side of the Atlantic. As I hear it, they just want safety on their streets. They want us gone from their country, where our presence simply attracts the worst of the bomb-happy fanatics.

And sure, as you yourself pointed out in a video clip I happened to catch this morning, those dedicated to violence and mayhem are media-savvy. They take their video cameras with them and post the results of their destructive forays on web sites in order, presumably, to communicate their message of terror and intimidation to the rest of the world. But it's a wild stretch to connect this to some kind of nefarious plan to affect the outcome of the American elections, as you did.

It's not surprising, though, that you'd be trying to turn even this dreadful recent upsurge in deadly violence to your political advantage. It follows the pattern of your spin-masters, who find a way to twist the worst of news and the direst of facts to suit your agenda or prove you right.

We have another two weeks and a day before the November elections, with widespread predictions of a harsh rebuff to your policies and the lawmakers who promote them. And yet you and your Rove, spotted recently in another video clip, seem remarkably self-confident--even smug. I recall those images from the night of the November '04 elections, when you had that same look on your face despite the news from the exit polls forecasting a victory for John Kerry. It was almost as though you KNEW... and perhaps you did. Perhaps you knew that the Kerry's fate had been sealed before a single vote was cast.

And perhaps you know today, for the same reasons, that your Republicans will win. It may be that, no matter how the political momentum shifts to the Democrats, the crucial work has already been done, the results assured. It may be that "democracy" really has been killed off in this country--by the influence of corporate money, by the gerrymandering of political districts, by disguised poll taxes or onerous ID requirements, by corrupt election officials and corrupted election technology. It may be that you still have that "October surprise" to spring on us. It may be that the Democrats seize another spectacular defeat from the jaws of victory, and it may be that they will be blamed, once again, for falling fecklessly into the Republican trap.

I'm amazed to find myself expressing thoughts I would have contemptuously dismissed as the fantasies of paranoid conspiracy nuts not long ago. But there you go, Bush. It's one result of nearly six years of growing outrage since your "election" to the presidency.

1 comment:

denn said...

After Pat's Birthday


It is Pat's birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice... until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice: Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military. Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense. Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this. In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy.

People still have a voice.

People still can take action.

It can start after Pat's birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman