24 October 2005

Shhh, the fascists have quietly usurped control!!!

The Bunker Mentality... By William Rivers Pitt

I wrote to Ambassador Joseph Wilson last week to ask how he and his wife were bearing up, and to remind them that they had a lot of friends. "The outpouring of support has been of great comfort to us these past two years," he wrote back. "The stakes are enormous. This is all about whether our government can take us to war on lies without any fear of being held to account, and whether our democracy can survive the coalition of fascist forces that have seized control of the levers of power."

Heavy stuff. Yet if the desperation we are seeing on the part of defenders of this administration offers any clue, the fascists are running out of explanations. Take Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's performance on this past Sunday's version of Meet the Press. "I certainly hope," she said when asked about the Fitzgerald investigation into the deliberate outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, "that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars."

Some perjury technicality, eh? Waste of time and dollars?

Funny the difference almost seven years and two broken elections can make. Back on February 12, 1999, when Ms. Hutchison cast her vote to impeach a sitting president of the United States, she was of a different mind when it came to perjury. Her statement in Congress practically peeled the paint off the wall, so laden was it with outrage at the violation of an oath taken before the delivery of sworn testimony.

"The edifice of American jurisprudence rests on the foundation of the due process of law," Ms. Hutchison's best speechwriter wrote for her to read that day. "The mortar in that foundation is the oath. Every day, thousands of citizens in thousands of courtrooms across America are sworn in as jurors, as grand jurors, as witnesses, as defendants. On those oaths rest the due process of law upon which all of our other rights are based. The oath is how we defend ourselves against those who would subvert our system by breaking our laws. There are Americans in jail today because they violated that oath."

Here's the funny part. President Clinton violated that oath after being asked a bunch of questions about his personal life, his sex life.

It's a little different today. Anyone violating that oath in Fitzgerald's investigation, be they Lewis Libby or Karl Rove or Judith Miller or John Hannah, will have done so after being asked questions about the deliberate destruction, for political means, of a NOC agent for the CIA who was tasked to track any person, nation or group that might give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. They will have done so after being asked questions about the destruction of Ms. Plame's intelligence networks, which were assembled person by person in unfriendly lands to help her do her job.

They will have done so after being asked questions about how, exactly, this White House manufactured evidence of WMD in Iraq, by way of the White House Iraq Group and the Office of Special Plans, and sold it to the American people - the interruption of which by Joseph Wilson being the reason we are all dealing with this mess today.

Makes the last few years of the '90s seem a giant waste of time, eh?

Funny the difference a few years can make. There were a thousand things wrong in the '90s, to be sure, and more than a few of them stemmed from the government and, specifically, the White House. In those days, however, there was still a sense of optimism. We were in the world and of the world, yet still Americans, still strong and proud. We were riding high, having figured out how to have historic economic expansion and opportunity while still providing the money necessary for programs and policies that helped those who needed a hand. So much remained to be done, but the outlines of a blueprint for getting it done seemed to be out there.

Not so much anymore. Now, we are a nation that believes itself under siege, afraid of our own shadows, afraid of chickens and airplanes and subways and gasoline prices and storms and the nightly news and anyone who doesn't look like an American, whatever that means. Yellow. Orange. We fight them there so we don't have to fight them here. The enemy is all around us, we are told by this administration, ready to strike. Be ready, we hear. Be angry. Be afraid.

Psssst ... Joe Wilson is right. They are fascists, and this is what fascists do. They make people afraid. They turn a populace against an outsider while at the same time denying that populace information or even hope of a peaceful resolution. They mobilize for attack through intimidation and scare-tactics. Ask Herman Goering, who explained during the Nuremburg trials, "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

Welcome to the bunker mentality, courtesy of George W. Bush and the folks who brought you the catastrophic invasion of Iraq, the escape and continued freedom of Osama bin Laden, the annihilation of faith in the business community by way of Enron, the annihilation of any sense of personal security by way of Katrina, the annihilation of our standing on the international stage, the big lie about weapons of mass destruction, and an awful lot of dead American soldiers. They used September 11 against you to get these things, or to get away with these things, depending on the need at hand. The result is a proud, great nation on its knees.

This whole situation with Fitzgerald and Plame and Wilson and Libby and Rove and the rest is but a symptom of the larger disease we endure. This White House bunkered itself in way back in 2001, relying only upon ideologically-vetted yes-men who all agreed upon a singular course of action. If Ms. Hutchison's performance is any indication, and it is, the walls of the bunker are closing in all around them.

Their failure to deal with straightforward facts, their reliance upon the idea that political ideology and political goals can render straightforward facts malleable and subject to change, their deliberate decision to run the government and manage the people by way of a Cold War mentality that uses fear as the prime motivator, their desire to control information through aspirations of absolute authority, has delivered the rest of us into the bunker with them.

It did not used to be this way. It does not have to be this way.

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