Thursday, May 22, 2003


Yesterday US Senator Robert Byrd made a speech on the floor of the Senate which has been published on the Common Dreams site. Raven and I check this site almost every day because it gives us a little clue as to whether consciousness is increasing in Fortress America—or whether the long arm of the unconscious has the upper hand….

Raven is reading over my shoulder.

“Ha! Nothing like a mixed metaphor. Mixed body parts, even.”

It’s too early in the morning for a blast of criticism, Rave. I just want to pass on a few bits from Byrd’s speech, okay?

“I am never one to fly in the face of new awareness. Especially about a piece called “The Truth Will Emerge”.

Okay. He begins by saying, “The danger is that damage is done before the truth is widely realized. “

“He’s right except that he should have added “usually” before “damage”.

He mentions the manipulation by the Bush Gang, the blurring of the faces of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, the expoitation of fear. And then he talks about the cynical application of the term “liberation” to the process of destroying Iraq, saying: “But ‘liberation’ implies the follow up of freedom, self-determination and a better life for the common people. In fact, if the situation in Iraq is the result of ‘liberation’, we may have set the cause of freedom back 200 years.”

“How about that they’ve bombed it back to the Stone Age?”

Raven yawns and moves his beady eyes closer to the screen.

That’s pretty much the implication in what he goes on to say:

“Despite our high-blown claims of a better life for the Iraqi people, water is scarce, and often foul, electricity is a sometime thing, food is in short supply, hospitals are stacked with the wounded and maimed, historic treasures of the region and of the Iraqi people have been looted, and nuclear material may have been disseminated to heaven knows where, while U.S. troops, on orders, looked on and guarded the oil supply.

Meanwhile, lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and refurbish its oil industry are awarded to Administration cronies, without benefit of competitive bidding, and the U.S. steadfastly resists offers of U.N. assistance to participate. Is there any wonder that the real motives of the U.S. government are the subject of worldwide speculation and mistrust?

And in what may be the most damaging development, the U.S. appears to be pushing off Iraq's clamor for self-government. Jay Garner has been summarily replaced, and it is becoming all too clear that the smiling face of the U.S. as liberator is quickly assuming the scowl of an occupier. The image of the boot on the throat has replaced the beckoning hand of freedom. Chaos and rioting only exacerbate that image, as U.S. soldiers try to sustain order in a land ravaged by poverty and disease.”

“Well, what were they expecting, anyway?”

Let me finish reading, Rave:

“Democracy and Freedom cannot be force fed at the point of an occupier's gun. To think otherwise is folly. One has to stop and ponder. How could we have been so impossibly naive? How could we expect to easily plant a clone of U.S. culture, values, and government in a country so riven with religious, territorial, and tribal rivalries, so suspicious of U.S. motives, and so at odds with the galloping materialism which drives the western-style economies?”

“Isn’t that what I just asked?”

Yeah. And the predictable future looks bleak, too. Byrd says:

“We may have sparked a new international arms race as countries move ahead to develop WMD as a last ditch attempt to ward off a possible preemptive strike from a newly belligerent U.S. which claims the right to hit where it wants. In fact, there is little to constrain this President. Congress, in what will go down in history as its most unfortunate act, handed away its power to declare war for the foreseeable future and empowered this President to wage war at will…We cower in the shadows while false statements proliferate. We accept soft answers and shaky explanations because to demand the truth is hard, or unpopular, or may be politically costly.

But, I contend that, through it all, the people know. The American people unfortunately are used to political shading, spin, and the usual chicanery they hear from public officials. They patiently tolerate it up to a point. But there is a line. It may seem to be drawn in invisible ink for a time, but eventually it will appear in dark colors, tinged with anger. When it comes to shedding American blood - - when it comes to wreaking havoc on civilians, on innocent men, women, and children, callous dissembling is not acceptable. Nothing is worth that kind of lie - - not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not somebody's grand pipedream of a democratic domino theory.

And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the "powers that be" will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.”

“Nothing like pulling optimism out of the hat like a rabbit, is there?”

Raven wanders toward the window, poised for his getaway.

Where are you off to now, guy?

“Off to find that house of cards. To watch it fall.”

Senator Byrd is not alone in his optimism. Apparently.

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