"If you knew what we know..."
If Congress saw the intelligence about WMDs, they would understand why it was "absolutely vital" to invade a country that weapons inspectors said most likely had none. If the inspectors only knew what the administration knew, they would change their minds. That being so, why not fill the inspectors in? What could possibly be gained from not proving to the inspectors how wrong they were?
If the Courts only knew all the evidence against the evil terrorists we keep in cages down in Cuba, they would understand why we can't let them have access to the justice system that has always been perfectly capable of conducting terror trials in the past, but is now woefully inadequate - we just can't tell you why, 'cause it's a secret. Just trust us. Even when large numbers of those people we once assured you were "the worst of the worst" are quietly released, now inexplicably designated as "no longer enemy combatants."
If all you common folk knew what we know, you'd understand why we have to spy on your phone calls and e-mails, library records and internet activity, watch your every move with satellites, and keep records of your travel information, hotel stays, letters to the editor, political and social affiliations, which churches you attend, products you buy, and how much money is in your checking account.
Well, dammit, I want to know what you know.
If you want to send our sons and daughters to invade a country that hasn't attacked us, on the basis that they have WMDs and pose an imminent threat, don't just tell me to trust you - show me.
I want facts: credible testimony backed by hard evidence, proof that you have exhausted all diplomatic avenues, that you have a sound plan of attack, a plan to win the peace, and a plan to get the hell out when we're done. You don't have to give away all the tactical and strategic details, but you owe me more than vague talk of "mushroom clouds" and fabricated stories of "yellow-cake" and "aluminum tubes."
Don't play on our emotions and appeal to our fears. Give us the information we need to make intelligent, reasoned decisions - and then trust us to make them.If you need more authority to conduct surveillance, ask for it before breaking whatever law you choose only because you doubt you can get the authority you need. If you thought you couldn't get it, you probably shouldn't have it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that if you were afraid to get permission from the American People, you knew what you were doing was illegal.
Because if you knew what we know,
you'd know that a huge majority of American citizens despise you for the damage you have done to the country that we love more than any other. You'd know that we are appalled at the arrogance and incompetence you have displayed, and the precious honor and prestige, and lives you have squandered by your stubborn refusal to admit and correct your mistakes. You'd know that Americans place great value in our reputation as a champion of the Rule of Law and a defender of human rights - a long-held reputation which you have single-handedly destroyed in seven short years.
If you knew what we know, you would realize that the American People don't want "protection" at any price. What good is physical protection from terrorists if people are afraid of their own Government? You'd know that in America, there are no such things as "free speech zones", and that every square-foot of this nation is a place where First-Amendment rights are protected. You'd know, like your favorite predecessor, "Honest Abe" Lincoln knew, that public sentiment is everything, and without the Will of the People, nothing can be accomplished. Opinion polls, despite your frequent proclamations to the contrary, really do matter. Abe said so himself.
If Americans wanted a leader who didn't care what they wanted, we would elect Dick Cheney as all-powerful King and Dicktator, and transfer ownership of all public property and government programs to Halliburton, and assign all law enforcement functions to Blackwater.
If you knew what we know, you'd know that it is unforgivably shameful to demand hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for your colossal blunder of a war, and refuse comparatively miniscule funds to make sure our children can see a doctor when they get sick.
Once, you had the chance to be remembered as one of the greatest Presidents ever to lead the nation. If you knew what we know, you would understand that you are undoubtedly destined to be remembered as the worst.
Because if you knew what we know, Mr. President, you would be awfully disappointed in yourself.