by David Glenn Cox
The river of time cuts deeply into the banks, dictating course over
current. What is today fresh, muddy ground, becomes tomorrow bedrock.
When Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal he
said that he did so to end our long national nightmare. The nightmare
was not ours but Richard Nixon’s. We, as Americans, had just witnessed
our Constitution work as its founders had intended.
So what if a
sick, old, politically disgraced man was allowed to go home and mend
rather than face the courts. He had lost his political life and had
been publicly disgraced; so what was to gain by his prosecution? It
seemed reasonable at the time, except that what Ford had done was to
put personhood over legal liability. It declared that some men were
indeed above the law, so-granted by wealth or by station. While Nixon
recuperated others who had followed his orders served time in federal
Several years ago when local police departments began
carrying taser weapons, they were introduced to the public as an
alternative to deadly force. Police would no longer need to pull their
pistols in a last chance use of deadly force. They were going to save
lives; yet now we read stories of unarmed students, little old ladies
and even pregnant women being tasered, while the company which
manufactures the weapon is working on a new model with a multiple-shot
capacity. Are we so violent? Do police need to carry a multiple-shot
capacity taser to keep from emptying their pistols into the crowd?
they are allowed to do today to strangers, they will be allowed to do
to you tomorrow. The currents of time never stop, and the excuse of
waterboarding a suspect to stop a terrorist plot today will be seen as
license to waterboard a suspected convenience store holdup man
In 1968 the My Lai massacre of 347 Vietnamese
civilians, murdered by US soldiers, brought a huge outcry from the
public. The world was outraged; congressmen received death threats. Yet
today nobody thinks twice that during the hunt for Saddam Hussein the
military dropped laser-guided bombs on a twelve-unit apartment building
in Baghdad. The military later announced that their information was
incorrect and Saddam had never been there, but no word on the families
who once called the building home.
The massacres in Afghanistan,
the murdered wedding parties in Iraq, become glossed over as life loses
its value. The predator drone attacks continue despite the complaints
of the lawful rulers of Pakistan, and yet that isn’t questioned by the
media or even by the clergy. We have begun down a road which, if we
don’t turn back, will have dire consequences on the future for us all.
have become so fractured politically that our system ceases to work.
The very people who cheered for the Patriot Act, which allows the
government access to anything you read or write, or any phone
conversations or Email, and even warrantless sneak-and-peek searches,
now decry the public option in the health care bill because they fear
that their medical records will fall into in the hands of government
bureaucrats. They fear any government programs, yet they fully support
our troops and law enforcement.
It has often been said that
truth is the first casualty of war, and many people forget that we have
been at war almost a decade now. So long, perhaps, that we have
forgotten why and how we got into these wars. We went to Afghanistan
because the Taliban refused to give up Osama Bin Laden after the 9-11
attacks. They were labeled as supporting terrorists and allowing
terrorist training camps on their soil. Yet only one year before those
same leaders were welcomed into our country and wined and dined by
government and oil company officials.
And Bin Laden? He’s not
only never been found, he has never been charged with any crimes
involving the 9-11 attacks. The former President went so far as to say;
“I don’t know where he is. I just don’t spend that much time on it.”
This just six months after the 9-11 attack. Bin Laden had been made the
greatest international boogeyman of our time, but once the wars had
begun he was no longer needed to incite the public.
Laden to Saddam, Saddam was accused of building nuclear bombs and had
mobile chemical weapons labs. Saddam had unmanned aircraft that could
fly all the way to America and dump toxic gas on the unsuspecting
public. Saddam was evil incarnate; he even gassed his own people.
Except that it happened during the Iran Iraq War and the US had
supplied intelligence that said Iranian troops had occupied an Iraqi
village along the border. Unfortunately the intelligence was out of
date; the Iranians had withdrawn their troops and the villagers had
Saddam gassed them, all right, based on bad
intelligence and with chemical weapons supplied by the Reagan
administration. Saddam was indeed a tyrant, but he was a tyrant that
offered free national healthcare and a free college education to his
people. Iraq had the highest percentage of college educated women
anywhere in the Arab world and more engineers, as well. But once
captured he was quickly executed. No world court would get their hands
on him, only a local mock trial with the verdict preordained before the
judge was ever seated.
Next on the boogeyman list were Iran’s
Ahmadinejad and North Korea’s Kim Jong il. Ahmadinejad told the UN that
the European Holocaust was not a legitimate cause for the UN to give
away land that it did not hold title to, and Ahmadinejad was labeled a
holocaust denier. Ahmadinejad then said that Israel will disappear from
the pages of time, which was translated to the American public as the
Iranian president had some evil plan up his sleeve to destroy Israel,
forgetting that in his office as President, Ahmadinejad has no control
over the military forces of Iran.
We have lies on top of lies
and wars on top of wars built on lies until the military budget of the
United States is 50% of the total budget. How long can this go on? The
Ecuadorian government told the US that it would not renew the lease on
the single airbase it allowed the US to use to allegedly fight drug
traffic. I say allegedly because during the Vietnam War the CIA was
accused of drug trafficking, and during Iran Contra Hearings the CIA
was again accused of drug trafficking. Hillary Clinton recently
negotiated for seven new bases in Colombia where we have spent billions
of dollars to fight the cocaine traffic with the son of a drug
trafficker and former Mayor of Medellin and former close associate of
Pablo Escobar before he became the country’s crime-busting President.
the election of Barack Obama it was hoped by many that we would turn
around and return to a logic-based policy rather than fear-based. Obama
quickly squashed the idea of any prosecutions of former officials, save
for a few underlings ala the Ford doctrine. Guantanamo is to be
relocated further out of sight to Afghanistan, and the one-time law
professor developed his own legal theory of “Indefinite detention,” in
effect codifying the suspension of habeas corpus. These are not little,
trifling things; these are principles of western law that extend back
almost one thousand years.
While the tea baggers shout about
Obama the socialist, they welcome and wear the new fascism like a fine
new coat. Government shouldn’t do anything to help its people! Obama
wants to pull the plug on grandma! Obama wants to change our form of
government to Communist! It would be laughable if it weren’t so
serious, and because we are so divided politically and deluded by the
vast whirlpools of political lies, it is hard to image how we can ever
get out of it.
But as the river cuts the channel deeper and
straightens out its bends, who knows who the next boogeyman might be.
Maybe you, Montag! Or maybe someone even more threatening.
called to complain there was an old scruffy man acting suspiciously,”
said officer Spencer. “It was an odd request because it was
mid-afternoon. But it’s an ethnic Latin area and the residents felt he
didn’t fit in.”
The man walking through the seaside New Jersey
town gave the officer his name but had no identification on himself at
the time. The officer then ordered the man into the back seat of her
squad car and took him to the hotel where the man claimed to be
registered. Upon arrival the man produced an ID which identified him as
one Bob Dylan, in town to do a concert with Willie Nelson and John
Baba Yaga is motioning from her door for us to enter
into her hut from which there is no return, and somehow we must resist
the witch’s entreaties.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.