Calhoun’s Cannons , The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA ,for November 22, 06
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . .”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I want them all in the dock at The Hague, before the World Court, on trial for war crimes, the cloistered theorists with their soft pale hands, the Neo-Cons in their arrogant ignorance who mistook Iraqis for Rotarians from Nebraska. Kristol, Kagan, Wolfowitz, Perle, Sciafe, all the chicken hawk architects of their PNAC wet-Dream who now blandly disavow their role in creating the Baghdad killing grounds. “It wasn’t us,” they say, stroking their clean white hands. “Our theories were sound. It was those incompetents in Washington that caused our dream to fail, not us. Never us.” I want them all in the dock.
I want Bush and Cheney and Powell there, too. I want Bush to explain why, before starting his little “shock & awe” war, he never even bothered to pick up a phone and call some old MI-5 type who’s now doddering around in a British rest home, one of the old school Eton boys who was there when Iraq was cobbled together out of the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire, someone present at the creation, some old, experienced hand who would have told him unequivocally, “Don’t do it, Sonny. Don’t do it!”
And I want Powell to tell the world why he put love of self and his four gold stars above love of Constitution and country. Powell knew.
And I want Congress jammed into that witness box, too. I want to know how it was possible that a lot of regular citizens with no access to intelligence knew Bush was cherry picking and conflating and lying, but they, who had far greater access to real intelligence, good intelligence, handed the President a sword and turned their self-blinded eyes away, asking no hard questions, refusing oversight and responsibility. When did party loyalty trump love of country? What mattered more to them, the mounting death toll? A treasury being looted by war profiteers in a mismanaged operation being run by incompetents? Or being called French-looking-girly-men by bloviating hypocrites like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly? I want them all in the dock.
But most of all, I want the American people to appear in The Hague. I want to know why they were so easily fooled. Monger a little fear, gin up a few phony facts, and our nation of brave, militia-ready, citizen-farmers turned into bleating sheep ready to trash the Constitution, commit wars of aggression, codify and condone torture. Waterboarding? Torture as frat-boy high-jinks? Habeas corpus? Invade the wrong country? What’s the problem?
Increasingly, the late-night comedians have been getting bigger laughs now when they mock Washington. But through the scrim of laughter, I keep seeing the ghosts of all the dead asking,”Who will be the last to die here? Is that what’s so funny? That the joke’s on him?”
But there will be no answer at The Hague. Even with a regime change in Washington, there will be no real accountability. Americans don’t like accountability. Accountability might interfere with profits, might raise too many questions best left unanswered, might implicate too many people. Instead, it’s time to move on. For the architects of this disaster, fat book contracts, lucrative K-Street lobbying jobs and highly-paid punditry slots at cable news divisions all await.
Iraq, Afghanistan will soon slide off the radar of the American psyche. Disinterested to begin with, Americans will soon be distracted by some new passing fancy, a witless game show involving near naked women bobbing for diamonds in vats of green Jell-O, perhaps. Or yet another Hollywood scandal.
As for all the dead, the missing, the maimed, a country destroyed, a treasury looted, none of that matters. It never did. It was all merely collateral damage to the arrogant, ignorant cloistered theorists with their expensive suits and soft pale hands, careless people who dreamed of transforming the world into their own image.