Almost 18 months ago, Rep. John Conyers chaired an informal hearing, relegated to the basement of the Congress, on the run- up to the war on Iraq. A member of the Judiciary Committee, Conyers had been outspoken in his opposition to the attack on Iraq. The hearing was sponsored and supported by over 100 Democrats from the House of Representatives. Ex CIA analyst Ray McGovern was on the panel, as was Cindy Sheehan, housewife and mother turned anti war activist. Rep. Conyers, during this impassioned and spirited hearing, made the statement... NO, made the promise that " When we ( the Democrats ) take over the House of Representatives , and I become chairman of the Judiciary Committee, there will be hearings held on the run -up to this war".
He then stated that there would be inquiries into any possible impeachable acts by this president and vice president. A little over one year later, even as the quagmire in Iraq ran deeper and deeper, with deaths mounting all around, Conyers and his new leader Ms. Pelosi stated that " impeachment is off the table " - as were those aforementioned hearings. Even Keith Olberman's fine Countdown show never has Ray McGovern or Cindy Sheehan discussing the possible impeachable ( and indictable ) offenses of lying and deceiving the Congress and public into a phony war. Silence!
This writer has stood, each and every Tuesday at rush hour, for over 30 months , on that same street corner in Port Orange, Florida, in protest to this Iraq debacle. Give or take a few canceled days due to bad weather, and two or three times being ill, it comes to about 112 Tuesdays on that corner, sign and megaphone in hand. When one is doing the same thing in public for that long of a time, one senses a great deal.
Reading the faces floating by in the countless vehicles, listening to the honking horns, or shouts of disagreement ( middle fingers raised ), one becomes a sort of pollster. Before the 2004 election, there were many more positives supporting our dissent- yet quite a few pro war, pro Bush and middle fingered folks being vocal.
As the occupation of Iraq continued through 2005 and 2006, we on the corner noticed more and more honks and thumbs up, and less and less of the nasty shouts and middle fingers. Americans seemed to be growing tired of the bad news, of the increasing death toll of our troops, and what some call economic blow back. What occurs, when $ 400 billion is funneled towards war, is that the Feds cannot give block grant money to the states. The states then must cut many basic services, along with money to help with school construction and expansion, and the local towns must raise property taxes and other fees etc. Medicaid and social services get cut- in our county, counseling centers are closing , leaving many mentally and emotionally ill folks to " roam the streets " with no medication and no support. Where is the public's outrage? Silence!
The Democrats, despite taking control of the Congress, have bailed on any hearings concerning the run up to this illegal war on Iraq. All they are concerned about is timetables for withdrawal, and they cannot even agree on that issue. Thus, the occupation, with its ever increasing death and spending, goes on and on. Presently, the Democrats, to be politically expedient ( thinking ahead to '08 ) will vote to give more money to this mess in Iraq- all in the name of aiding and protecting our troops. If parents thought their child was in harms way baby-sitting in a certain house, wouldn't they simply take the kid out of that house? Oh, but then again, its not their kids ( with the exception of less than a handful of House members and one Senator) that are either in that quagmire or going to be sent to that quagmire in the desert. Silence!
Finally, on March 20, the day after thousands of street corner protests of dissent occurred throughout these United States ( and the world) marking the 4th anniversary of the attack on Iraq, where was the N.Y Times? Many call this the bible of " All the News..... ". Well, the bible relegated the countless demonstrations to around page 18, with but a 1/4 page article ( no pictures of course). My own local paper, one in which this writer has many philosophical grievances, gave our demonstration a giant Page One (with photo) coverage. Did the Times think this story less important , as more American troops are being shipped over to that mess?
To all those who are great at giving lip service to what we on the street corners are doing, remember the scene from the film " One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest " ? The one where the Jack Nicholson character bets the others that he can lift the heavy concrete water fountain. After giving it his best shot, and not being able to do it, he walks slowly out of the shower room. Then he turns to the group, and, with his deadpan voice says : " At least I tried.... that's more than I can say for you guys!"
The Wall of Silence is deafening!