The ethical thing to do may be to commit suicide.
Yes, I’m talking about the American Empire in its postmodern Iraq occupation phase.
Wishful thinking, as embodied in the words repeated authoritatively by Representative Tim Murphy, recently back from Iraq and talking to his fellow freedom fighters recovering at a military hospital.
Murphy says that he was told by "everyone" he talked to: "Don’t pull out. Do not make it so those who have been wounded and those who have died have done so in vain. We know we can take care of this cause. We got to finish this."
"This" is, in fact, unfinishable. It is unfinishable in the sense that the objective never included a U.S. military withdrawal. It is unfinishable because it was never intended to liberate Iraqis, or to ensure their self-determination. It is unfinishable because "success" requires the ongoing maintenance of regional lines of communication and a large number of massive military bases in Mesopotamia. It is unfinishable because the invasion was conducted precisely to facilitate and create new operational missions against Syria, Saudi Arabia, and later Iran and Pakistan.
Wishful thinking. We see it in Presidential candidate and the Democrat’s one real chance for the 2008 Presidency, Virginia Governor Mark Warner, who says "the debate should focus on how to finish the job; that Sunni Muslims and Iraqis in general should be involved in reconstruction; and that the United States must convince more allies to help."
Warner is the Democratic chance for the White House because of the political airgap between Mark "we don’t need more troops in Iraq" Warner and Hillary "we do need more troops in Iraq" Clinton. Warner gets points for reflecting the public mood on Iraq while satisfying the establishment’s need to remain in Iraq, control its politics, finances, security and energy policies.
Just to be clear, by "establishment," I am referring to the big government, big oil, and big military-industrial-congressional complex that is actively strangling the last bit of life out of an already unconscious American Republic.
Mark Warner attended the 2005 Bilderburger meeting in Italy. He was the only governor to do so this year, and I think they approved. Thus vetted, his interest in the Presidency is now revealed, and his campaign theme may well be "A Wish for America" or "Hope Rising."
It will sell, and the establishment will get its share, its access, its murder, death and chaos, in Iraq and elsewhere. Americans, vaguely aware that we are in the early stages of a long economic decline and the eventual and costly collapse of the great American empire, will today heartily support more hope, more joy, and more state. As Americans clamor for these things, they will be only partially satisfied. Hope and Joy will be discussed, but only more State will be delivered.
Wishful thinking is promoted. But what of its competition? Truth, that poor relative, always hard to face, never needing anything and yet creating a certain discomfort among others in the room, remains a smoldering problem for Washington.
But she is easy to deal with. Give truth some exposure and commendation, and then pat her on the head and send her away. If she doesn’t go away, we can always ignore her.
Sometimes, as in the case of Sgt Kevin Benderman, truth must be jailed. Benderman told the truth about Iraq and about America, and he is safely ensconced for a fifteen-month prison term. SSgt Al Lorentz spoke truth, and he was both bad-mouthed and marginalized, as not a team player and worse. Captain Ian Fishback tried to do the right thing; not a single West Pointer stands up beside him, and his career may be over. Isolate, punish, pressure, torture. It’s what Truth deserves, isn’t it?
The House Committee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, led by Representative Chris Shays, was planning to hold a December 6th hearing on national security whistleblowers in a post 9-11 era, to look at the government’s systematic personal and professional abuse of government truthtellers. Shays has, thus far, refused to hear testimony from any of the members of the most active and current of government whistleblower groups, the National Security Whistleblower Coalition, founded by 9-11 FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. A letter-writing campaign by the NSWBC and many supporting organizations who stand for truth and accountability has resulted in the postponement of this hearing. Stay tuned as our elected public servants continue to wriggle.
The truth about Iraq is jailed. The truth about our military interference with countries that have something that neoconservatives, oil conglomerates and/or military contractors covet is jailed. The jailers work overtime, and the most obscene of them are the congressmen and media that sample the truth, and politely comment on its pungency and flavor, but decide that lies are sweeter, more plentiful, and far more profitable.
We come to the final solution, so to speak, one that is subtly encouraged by the establishment, by the military and by the administration. This is the solution that West Point full professor and active duty Army Colonel Ted Westhusing apparently discovered for himself.
Described as "one of the Army’s leading scholars of military ethics," and by all accounts a great officer, teacher, friend, father and husband, in May 2005, Colonel Westhusing "received an anonymous four-page letter that contained detailed allegations of wrongdoing by USIS." USIS has a small $79 million contract to train Iraqi police to conduct special operations.
Colonel Westhusing was observed by colleagues to be increasingly bothered by lack of ethics and misconduct he saw in Iraq. But that’s ancient history now! A few weeks later, on June 5th, 2005, Westhusing was found by a USIS manager in a pool of blood, dead by what was determined by the Army to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Army looked into the allegations of corruption that had been of noticeable concern to Colonel Westhusing, and (surprise!) found nothing to write home about. A government official (speaking anonymously!) had this to say, "As is typical, there may be a wisp of truth in each of the allegations." A wisp of truth, but not enough, never ever enough, to change what we are doing, of course.
Reward wishful thinking and fuzzy logic. Imprison the truth. Isolate and punish those with honor. It’s the Bush-Cheney style. Ironically, the style favored by this pair of draft dodgers has completely permeated the Department of Defense.
Rumsfeld, known for torturing logic, language and loose taxi drivers, just announced that Iraqi insurgents will henceforth be known as either terrorists or "enemies of the government."
Now, I don’t want the Jos Padilla treatment, and I’m not quite a terrorist. But "enemy of the government" sounds like a compliment!