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Bill Burkett: America's Center of Gravity

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by Bill Burkett

I've been termed a "nutcase" by those wanting to discredit me without an ounce of substance. Rush Limbaugh has chosen to make me a standard by which he makes comparisons with the false belief that he has discredited me and defamed me substantially as to now make me a poster child for "radical behavior".

It's true. In 1998, while very ill, I continued to write as I had done for ten years previous and one of my pieces was a one page essay entitled, "The Man Who Wanted to Be King", and it was about my former boss, George W. Bush. That was fully two years prior to his run for the White House. In fact, it was eight months prior to his run for re-election as Governor of Texas.

Within that essay, I focused on penchants, methodology and logic of the man who wanted to be King.

History has falsely made me look like a psychic.

Again, in 2001 after the collapse of the World Trade Center, I warned Americans in another series of writings of the dangers of blindly following a constant drumbeat of "crying wolf" on terror. I warned of the erosion of faith, and the erosion of our structure to feed a fear-based policy.

Terror politics have since stripped away at the fabric of individual rights; and FEAR has become the political driving point of over five years of public debate. I contend that in fact, the media's collapse to propaganda and fear have more significantly changed America than any single event within the history of this country; including, by the way, the terrorist bombing of the trade center in 2001. This failing, in my opinion, has enabled a false war that has destabilized the Middle East and the World, and has begun a pattern of economic restamping that will last at least another ten years.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, I warned not only against the War but used the Department of Defense's own military planning factors to forecast what the War in Iraq would look like. I didn't have a crystal ball. But my projections, baed upon the skills I learned in a 28 year decorated military career and as a War Planner and the planning factors and tables used by the War Planners themselves, have been almost 100% calibrated to what has transpired in this near 1300 day war that was initially categorized as "Mission Accomplished" after only 17 days.

I believed then, as I believe now that the senior Generals within the Army at the Pentagon, who Bush ignored or had resign, called it right. To accomplish this mission would require 400,000 troops and we just didn't have them available to us. All they did was use planning factors, sound logic and an understanding (an accurate, unemotional one) that Iraq was a tribal society rather than a cohesive product of social melding.

I want to recognize that President Jimmy Carter is one of the most vigorous and ethical men I've ever met and I believe he is again correct within his latest book.

I give him credit for the candor and courage to step out and paint America, for he has far more experience within critical capacities than I.

And though I am the son of a Church of Christ lay preacher for nearly five decades and was raised within that church; I admit to having lived within a community then and now that fields a number of 'fundamentalists' that only differ from the Muslim fundamentalists or the Jewish fundamentalists by which side of the street they walk on. Each believes that they speak for God - directly - and they in fact, are superior to all others within the human race.

Of course, this also speaks to the wisdom of the Thomas Jeffersons, Ben Franklins and others who first insisted on separation of Church and State within the Declaration of Independence and later carried it through to the Constitution. Obviously they had a mess of religious piety to deal with in their day as well.

Somehow, President Carter points out, this nation has the inherent ability to heal herself and find course correction. The faith of Americans has been tested over these past five years as the great strengths of this nation have sat idly by and watched the dismantling of the institutions that built her greatness. We've watched the media become empowered only by the business bottom line and allowing that chase of profit overpower the professional basis of journalism's architectural role as established and envisioned by the Founders. We saw generations of professionals now replaced by news readers. We see the evidence of great producers replaced by no research, "Google journalism" and the media being used as a vehicle for propaganda not unlike the old Soviet politburo.

This was a great institution in America. Even there, we have slim hopes of a revival of professionalism. But today, most of that renewal is coming from outside, rather than from within. The souls of journalism, as we knew it from the Walter Cronkite days, have been replaced with "entertainment journalism" and therefore credibility will be much easier regained with new faces rather than revive the old faces of the past.

No institution has been more diminished, however than the profession of diplomacy. It is within the George W. Bush administration that we have allowed the center of gravity to be moved so significantly to the fundamentalist positions that we have therefore replaced diplomacy and positive contact with those that disagree with us, and therefore could be deemed as logical threats with military threat and pomposity.

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