US Marine, Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan, 07/04/09. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Fall morning October 2002, phone rings, I answer, woman's voice begins in earnest: "Hello is this Truthout?" "Yes," I reply, "this is Truthout." Woman's voice: "Paul Wellstone has been killed in a plane crash... are you there... did you hear what I said?" "Yes," I replied finally, "I heard you." Woman's voice: "His small plane crashed this morning. His wife and daughter were killed with him. His plane crashed the same way Mel Carnahan's did... it was the same thing... do you understand? You must say it was the same thing." "Yes," I replied, "I understand." I don't remember her saying anything else, I don't remember her hanging up.
It was the same thing.
People talk from time to time about the Bush years and what they meant. They meant the death of American integrity.
It was a pivotal turning point for all things that mattered. From law to militarism, to civil and human rights; from things foreign and domestic, to education and the environment. Ruthlessness triumphed over the good of mankind from start to finish.
The process could not have had a more ominous start. The Supreme Court of the United States of America interceded in the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Voting without legal or historical precedent, along partisan political lines, to insert corporate America's too-good-to-be-true candidate come true, George W. Bush as commander in chief.
For a graphic understanding of what it all meant, watch the WikiLeaks video of an American Apache helicopter crew gunning down people in the streets of Baghdad. Listen to their voices, they'll tell you what time it is.
And it's on to Afghanistan, and let's win there.
100 Mai Lais, the destruction of Babylon, a trillion dollars of US taxpayer money to the Iraq war, so far, and a trillion more handed to the Wall Street bankers as they foreclose on American home after home.
We do torture. We have always tortured. The difference is that now we rationalize it, discuss it in mainstream print, radio and television broadcasts. We live with it, we turn a blind eye to it, and because we cannot face it down we are endlessly tortured by it.
The issue is justice, in all things. The willingness to do the right thing, and the wisdom to understand that it is not harder or more costly, but easier, more natural and more fulfilling to be fair than it is to deny fairness. These are things we knew, really things we know now, but choose to forget.
Which is the better national security strategy, peace through strength or strength through peace? Choose one, you can't have both. Ever heard the adage, "The cold war was a race between the US and the Soviet Union to see who would go bankrupt first"? But that was when the Soviet Army was bogged down in Afghanistan. Now the American military is.
Get a job. Can't get a job working for a corporation anymore? Get a job fighting a war for corporations at one-third the pay. Main street look like a ghost town? Might be a perfect time to go independent.
Make me a witness. Make you a witness too.
Thanks to Sarah McLachlan for the title.
Make me a witness
take me out
out of darkness
out of doubt