The President is deceitful, with himself, his advisors and staff, and the rest of the country? He is not historically or intellectually curious? He wanted war with Iraq from the beginning of his presidency, notwithstanding his frequent non-interventionist circa-2000 campaign speeches? Scott McClellan’s superiors lied to him, and made him lie for them? Dick Cheney — poster-boy of the military-industrial-congressional complex — always seems to get what he wants, and directs most of our foreign policy with his Washington neoconservative in-crowd? We could have told you that in 2003, and we did.
Tomorrow’s official news may be that we have responded to unacceptable Iranian interference with our military and economic occupation of Iraq and our intense strategic pauperization of Afghanistan. The irony of the excuse given for our attack on Iran cannot escape those in the region, including Israel’s government which vows to help us eliminate the "threat" posed by Iran. Occupiers and sham artists with 21st century military technologies plus nukes mortally afraid of nearby third world countries not yet occupied. Well, I guess we ought to be.
In the public high schools, we are waiting out the mandatory 180 days in the classroom. Students have completed their state-mandated multiple-choice exams, and justifiably refuse to do much more than watch movies — and not the educational kind, if they can detect it. I am having mine watch V for Vendetta. They are transfixed, and strangely, only a handful of them have seen it before. In the movie, there are several scenes illustrating a recurring theme of government lies, false flag events, and control of media. It’s supposed to be futuristic England, but in some ways it’s indistinguishable from what Scott McClellan remembers. Evie is a lowly employee of state media who knows all the various tells of the reporters when they are lying, long before she becomes fully aware of the state as tyrant, before she recognizes its employees — whether soldiers or policemen, educators or security workers — as ignorant force-empowered thugs.
Speaking of thugs, and government, one wonders about any possible progress towards republican government in the coming months. Given the array of candidates, it seems a write-in for Ron Paul is the only principled thing to do, unless you just stay home. I enjoyed reading Chris Hedges’ powerful speech at Furman last week. In it, he explains how close we are to real and frightful tyranny, and he advises that while voting is not enough, we should all vote. I am not so sure about voting. The physical process of voting is a kinetic learning experience — and what we learn is that we have done something — that we have voiced our opinion. But one must recall the old dilemma, "If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
It takes two to produce sound — a vibration in a certain frequency range and something that is sensitive and ideally responsive to that particular vibration. Our government — whether viewed as the dictator in chief, his trusty congress, or the executive, legislative, or judicial bureaucracy — is simply not sensitive to our lever-pulling or touch screen-touching vibrations. The 2004 elections of antiwar candidates to Congress proved that once again, and we should have seen it coming.
It is nice that Scott McClellan has a book out — and it is good that he himself has come clean for past sins of commission and omission. He deserves credit for that. He is donating proceeds from the book to families of dead American soldiers, and that’s sweet.
He’d be better off using the proceeds to send copies of Ron Paul’s The Revolution to the surviving families at home, and the walking soulless dead in Iraq. Healing is needed — for all of us but especially for the soldiers and their loved ones destroyed by our immoral and unjustified Iraq occupation. If one can understand how the country was envisioned by the founders, and how it may one day be, this awareness can transform grief, rage, and a sense of betrayal into something positive. Recognizing that a multitude of us share a faith in decentralization, liberty and peace is a massive force for national healing, and an improved national direction.
Sure, I’d love to see the Libertarian Party break a new record with Barr-Root. The Constitution Party is usually a good alternative, but I am not sure it doesn’t have a not-so-hidden authoritarian streak — a flaw that it may share this time with the Barr-Root ticket. But instead of obsessing about the man who will be president, perhaps we should begin to realize that this so-called leader of the free world (a-perch the country with the highest per capita incarceration rate on the planet, not counting torture ships, and the most military-dependent industrial base this side of North Korea) is just a man. Just a single man, as limited as any of us in ability and talent, given the same time on earth and responsibility to others as we all have.
The White House is angry that little Scotty, a lowly serf, has had the temerity to publish his memoirs, and to label his chapters in an accusatory and cynical way. "Selling the War," "Deniability," and "Out of Touch" leave little to even the Bush-league imagination. But if the White House, and its apologists at the various organs of state media, are upset about something, it means simply that a bunch of overpaid and underperforming bureaucrats are upset about something. So what?
We need to get over our government, and our state-run media — in more ways than one. Just yesterday morning, on the radio show Morning in America, fat-cat neoconservative government parasite and host Bill Bennett decried cynicism, in particular, cynicism about his fave warmonger, John McCain. My dear Bill, cynicism is the first step on a long journey home in this country, back to a future of freedom from folks like you telling us what to do, and how to do it.
Scotty, you actually don’t need to beam me up. There is intelligent life here on Earth. I won’t criticize you for writing your book — we should all write a book, and document for the record that we count, that we can figure things out, that we can change things for the better. And speaking of that — you are all invited to attend the Future of Freedom Foundation’s Restoring the Republic 2008 conference this weekend in Reston, Virginia. See you there!
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.