Salt Lake City’s Mayor Rocky Anderson led off this evening’s edition of Voice of the Voters with a specific list of wrongs that must be righted in 2008. Anderson, source of the now-famous “We won’t take it anymore” speech (links at www.voiceofthevoters.org), is stepping down from his present office next week to head the Humankind Education Fund.
Interviewed by host Mary Ann Gould, Anderson said that this country has a cult of obedience, no matter what foul play occurs among their elected officials, or else suffers from complacency—that is, caring but doing nothing about it. Neither option is viable. We have an important responsibility and the ability to exercise our power as citizens.
Calling the Iraq invasion a “tremendous deceit” and “horrible blunder,” he said that because of the horrendous acts of torture this country has been caught committing, we are like totalitarian, abusing countries. “We need a huge wake-up call,” a reaffirmation of democracy to change this disastrous course.
And whose fault is it that Bush is undermining the law and Cheney pushing the executive branch of the government as the only authoritative one?
Both parties are at fault—the Republicans more visibly; consider that two out of the three leading Democratic presidential candidates voted in favor of the Iraq invasion and also for its continued funding. All this despite a report published by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Department of Energy that disproved the bottom line of this disaster, that Iraq was harboring WMD.
Congress has abrogated its responsibility to declare war by the legislation that gave Bush carte blanche to do so, even in the face of the disclosures about the Niger forgeries that the media were so slow to publicize.
Mary Ann noted the domino effect of the war, which has led to worldwide financial crisis, thousands if not more lives lost, gutting of infrastructures, and more.
The single worst crisis afflicting the global community is without a doubt global warming, Anderson continued, the product of the burning of coal, oil, and gas, and of deforestation. The window of opportunity has now shrunk to a few years due to the terrible dereliction of responsibility by the president and Congress.
We can spend $1.5 trillion on Iraq, that “outrageous blunder,” instead of fostering a peace economy and ethical foreign policy.
Why has Congress allowed this? Anderson traced the issue to the Neoconservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC, 1998), which calls for economic and military world dominance. Bush exploited 9/11 as a chance to justify an invasion of Iraq, when his bottom line was really that country’s oil.
The real patriots oppose the Iraq war, said Anderson. Our legacy to future generations is historic deficits and a policy of hostility and hatred. He called the Democratic Party neutered and pathetic. Impeachment should have begun as soon as John Conyers became Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
The Iraq attack violated international laws this country had helped establish; such aggression can be justified only by the necessity for self-defense. Were the Democrats less timid, they would have withheld further funding for the war, as happened in the case of Vietnam.
And had the U.S. withdrawn its military presence from Saudi Arabia, there would have been no 9/11, Anderson continued. We need peacemakers.
Mary Ann quoted Thomas Jefferson that people make right decisions if they are given the right information. In this case they haven’t and the media are to blame.
Anderson cited two examples of misinformation by two of this country’s leading newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
And what are the key questions Americans should be asking?