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The Op-Ed the New York Times Didn't Run

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On 12/31/07 the New York Times published a scathing editorial charging the Bush White House, in effect, with high crimes and misdemeanors. After making a powerful case for impeachment, however, the Times failed to utter the word that dare not pass their lips - impeachment. The Washington Post on January 6, 2008 did broach the word, running an essay by George McGovern entitled "Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad, These Guys Are Worse." The Times, the "paper of record," after roaring injustice to the heavens in their New Year's Eve editorial, ended like a lamb, with a mute and forlorn hope that the 2008 election would result in a president who would undo the wrongs committed by this White House. I - and a number of others - took the Times to task for their ongoing failure to hold this criminal White House accountable.

I pointed out, for example, that they never even mentioned in their coverage of the 2004 election the fact that exit polls showed conclusively that the election was stolen by Bush - by some nine million votes. Bush and Cheney would never have taken office in 2000 and again in 2004 and would not have gotten away with their crimes against humanity without the cooperation and compliance of Congress and the mass media. Their ongoing complicity in these terrible crimes such as torture as policy is deeply immoral. It has had - and will have - horrible consequences. The mass media and Congress's acts of omission and commission will go down in history in infamy.

The Times featured my comments on their editorial on their website - much to my amazement. In the hope that perhaps this meant that there was a tiny crack opening at the Times in its prior wall of refusal to broach impeachment, I submitted the following Op-Ed to them. They say that if you don't hear from them in two weeks, it means that they won't run your essay. by Dennis Loo, submitted to the NY Times on January 1, 2008: In 1960 social psychologist Stanley Milgram pilot conducted a study in the U.S. that he next planned to take to Germany. His hypothesis? There's something peculiarly obedient about Germans that allowed Hitler to rise to power. Milgram discovered - to his surprise - that he could obtain the same blind obedience to authority evident in Germany here at home. Americans were all too easily led to doing terrible things to strangers if directed to do so by men in white coats.

America today is the Milgram Experiment writ large. Despite Bush's disingenuous protestations to the contrary, our government has been and is still torturing people as official policy. These are not the actions of a few rogue agents; torture and rendition are being carried out upon the express orders of our land's highest officials. In the most recent episode, we now know that the damning videotape evidence that the CIA was torturing people was destroyed. The trail of culpability for both the torture and the illegal destruction of the evidence lead to the White House. As the New York Times editorialized on 12/31/07 ("Looking for America") the crimes of this administration are legion and grotesque.

But what is even worse than what Bush and Cheney have done and are doing - as difficult as it is to conceive of something more egregious - is that they have been allowed to get away with it by the silence and collusion of mass media and Congress. The 2008 presidential race, placed on an extraordinary fast track this year, is in full throttle mode. Despite the unprecedented and extraordinary criminal commissions and omissions of this White House, the leading candidates for the presidency are not campaigning to end immediately the legalization of torture and abrogation of habeas corpus embodied in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the martial-law enabling Warner Act, the earnest preparations for yet another war against Iran, the Iraq War, the express, illegal, warrantless spying upon all Americans, or the some eight hundred signing statements that Bush has issued that overrule Congressional laws.

Moreover, the Democratic controlled Congress has said that they do not intend to do anything about the eminently hackable electronic voting machines until at least 2010. What are we to do? The question has been causing millions of Americans to agonize over our failure to end this regime, and our worrisome collective future. There are moments in history when - as Tom Paine put it - our souls are tested. In such times, a generation either rises to the occasion and proves the valor and value of humanity, or falters in ignominy.

This is such a moment. This is our Milgram Experiment.

Eliciting disobedience to authority goes against social tradition and social logic. People do not like to break away from the crowd and the majority of people believe that authority knows what is best and that it is best to follow authority. Dissent can be dangerous and is always certainly, at the very least, difficult and uncomfortable. Yet, disobedience to authority must happen when that authority has proven itself irremediably morally bankrupt and disastrous to the people and to the land.

The Democrats, despite the multitude of messages from the people that they have received asking, pleading, and demanding that they hold the White House criminals accountable, have turned a deaf ear. They have, instead, given these White House criminals everything and more that Bush and Cheney have outrageously asked for. Bush and Cheney are like absurdly spoiled children who get everything they demand and then some. The Democrats are like the frightened and enabling parents of these exceedingly dangerous sociopathic children. The mass media are like the grandparents who can't bring themselves to hold any in this family to real account. Polls have indicated for two and a half years that a majority (the numbers have varied depending upon how the questions were worded) wants Bush and Cheney gone. Congress continues to defy this demand of the people. The mass media, including the New York Times, persist in refusing to call for impeachment.

Yet the evidence could not be clearer: if what Bush and Cheney have done is not impeachable, then nothing is. If they are not impeached, if hearings are not commenced leading to impeachment, conviction and criminal prosecution of these felons, then the future of this country and this planet are bleak and frightening to consider. If, on the other hand, this generation rises to the occasion and shows its mettle, then a dramatically different and bright future can become possible.

Which one we get is up to you and me. Let us not go down in history as infamously standing silent in the face of grave crimes the way the "Good Germans" allowed the Nazis to carry out their atrocities. On January 11, 2008 Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, ACLU and others have called for millions of Americans to wear orange demanding the closing of Guantanamo. This follows in spirit a campaign I started in the summer of 2007, adopted by World Can't Wait, called Declare It Now: Wear Orange Daily Against the Bush Regime.

The rationale for this campaign is that a vehicle needed to be found for the majority sentiment against the crimes and malfeasances of this White House to be expressed; for people in everyday life to alter the political atmosphere on the grassroots level; for THE PEOPLE to take the political stage; for people to take a public, political and moral stand; and for the millions who are dying to find an alternative to be able to express this in an endemic rather than episodic way.

As the Hopi Prophecy eloquently put it: "We are the people we've been waiting for."

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Cal Poly Pomona Sociology Professor. Author of "Globalization and the Demolition of Society," co-editor/author (with Peter Phillips) of "Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney." National Steering Committee Member of the World Can't (more...)
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