Deja Vu - "Cry Wolf, And Let Slip the Dogs of War"
It's now January of the year 2008. In approximately two weeks, George W. Bush will address the nation and lie to us all. Still. Not again, but still. He's been lying to us since the day he first took office, along with his gang of neoconservative warmongers. They were off to a running start then, and they've run rampant throughout the nation with nary a challenge from Congress.
In the first four years, that was almost unavoidable -- the Republican majority played hard and played dirty, abdicating the duties of Congress in favor of party loyalty over the needs of the country.
The next two years saw that majority begin to crumble, until -- in the 2006 election cycle -- the Democrats broke the Republican majority.
We, the People, expected change.
The World expected change.
For whatever the reason, change never came.
In January of 2007, people waited for and listened to a rebuttal of the State of the Union Address presented by Jim Webb of Virginia. I don't know who is slated for the rebuttal this year; I don't really care. Whoever it is, I want someone who is going to foster change. I want someone who will directly confront the abuses, excesses, lies and prevarications of this rogue, criminal Administration and promise to end the continued rape of our nation.
The past few days have seen a variety of posts across the blogosphere: candidate diaries, as Democrats and Republicans vye for their party nomination and attempt to score the goodwill of the undecided and independent voters along the way; diaries and blog postings denoting the various ongoing investigations into the criminal acts committed against this nation and her people in a time of war, and wondering whether the investigations are simply kabuki theatre in a Potempkin village, leaving us naught but tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
Even more recently, stories with more foreboding have taken wing, leaving us asking if they are meant as distractions to obscure the Democratic primaries or as a smokescreen to cover up the cover-ups and continued criminal actions of a Executive and his accomplices entrenched in Congress, the Department of Justice, our key intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the Supreme Court?
I've written many pieces over the past few years warning of the intent of this Administration to engage in an attack on Iran and to continue the conflagration within the Middle East.
I'm done, for now. For tonight.
This is my attempt to save a few keystrokes; very little has changed in the past year. Benchmarks have come, gone and been forgotten. Crimes of torture, of illegal eavesdropping, of unwarranted and unConstitutional immunity sought for telecoms (and which would establish a baseline of immunity for the illegal activity of the President for initiating the eavesdropping before 9-11 even happened)...all these things have continued, and many have been unsuccessfully blocked.
Healthcare and benefits for both troops and vets has been blocked or gutted. The "President" stood before the nation and lied about using a pocket veto to overturn a funding bill that he simply outright veto'd. The same man who just received word from 16 of our intelligence agencies that Iran was not working on uranium enrichment for a nuclear weapons program just flew to Israel to meet with their intelligence agencies, who said they have "rock solid" evidence that Iran has, in fact, reconstituted their nuclear weapon program.
"Rock Solid" is the new "Slam Dunk."2
Now, not long after the wake of the Kyle-Lieberman fiasco declared the Iranian Republican Guard to be a terrorist organization, we hear tell of a group of five small gunboats manned by members of that very group, apparently threatening a US Navy ship, and making a very uncharacteristic transmission to emphasize the threat.3
No, I'm not going to write anything new for the upcoming SOTU, not unless it is significantly off the reality rails.
I wrote one last year. I'm going to reprint it now, below. You can substitute the name of anyone you want for Jim Webb's name, depending upon who the Democratic rebuttal is provided by.
I need to find some evidence that Congress, with the "razor thin" Democratic majority, is still manned by adults, not party loyalists. Adults who believe in the Constitution over their party. Adults who will put an end, now -- this year -- to the criminal activities that have been running amuck.4
In the meantime, I offer only this -- my post from last year, January 23. Not much has changed, but if you missed it then, perhaps you'll find it worth the read.
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Here begins the reposting...slightly cleaned up.
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Cry "Wolf" (and let slip the dogs of war),
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
-- excerpt from the start of
The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron,
first published in 1815
A classic telling of a biblical tale, using the age-old image of a wolf descending upon a flock of helpless sheep, sets the proper tone for the events of our time. The analogy, however, would be incomplete without a reference to both Aesop and Shakespeare, on this day when we wait with bated breath for the tonight's telling of The State of the Union by our illustrious Emperor, George W. Bush.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Is there a significance in the odd coincidence that "the boy who cried 'wolf'" (terrorists!) is also "the man who would be king," or is it merely an omen of ill tidings? The ancient, storied fable told by Aesop tells us of a boy who, lonely and perhaps a tad mischievous, cries "Wolf!" in order to get the villagers to run and join him with his flock. After several false alarms, the populace ceases to respond, and when the wolf actually descends upon the sheep the shepherd is left alone, his flock scattered. There is a more updated counterpart to this story, as told by Omar the Storyteller, which places the story in a more modern context: the "boy" is the mayor, and the identity of the wolf -- revealed at the end -- is a twist that should leave us breathless indeed. Omar's story, too, has an immediate relevance to the current state of our nation.
Both stories hold a moral -- the former (Aesop's tale) is that "Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed." Omar's story has, perhaps, a more insidious implication, one that suggests that he who cries wolf may be the wolf itself, sowing complacency among the populace until they have unwittingly surrendered to his wiles.
In our current time and place, as we face the impending "State of the Union" address from George W. Bush, it appears that both stories have a direct relevance to our nation today. I do not expect George to reflect on those stories in his special presentation, however. Does anyone?
The Bush White House has been caught, time and again, lying to the nation, to Congress and to the world. Whether or not they were ever believed by everyone at first, virtually no-one trusts anything that comes out this White House today, and yet when they speak of great and grave dangers to our nation and our freedom we ought to take heed: they, themselves, are the biggest threat to our democracy that we have ever faced. They are, in essence, the very "enemy within" that the Oaths of Office pledge them to defend us again -- "all enemies, foreign and domestic."
They are the wolf, and is it "Wolf!" that they cry, attempting to distract us against their machinations.
Slowly, inexorably, we are moved through their actions not away from war but toward it; already involved in two conflicts, our "leaders" are calling for a buildup that is sure to land us in another. The same cries of indignation at Iran echo the calls and cries against Iraq, crying "Wolf!" while steadfastly acting the part of the predator instead of the shepherd.
With a cry of "Wolf!" instead of Havoc! yet with the same gist and gusto, the Bush Administration prepares to let slip another pack of wolves, more dogs of war, upon the region where our nation has already spilled the blood of countless thousands.
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
-- Antony from Julius Caesar, a play
by William Shakespeare, 1601
Does this not remind anyone of how, in the name and spirit of Patriotism, George W. Bush stirred the populace to support his war(s) in the aftermath of 9/11? References to 9/11, and the extrapolation of a global war on "Terra," have been used to justify his resolve and chart his course for the past five years. Whenever the public appears to tire of the charade, the cry of "Wolf!" ("Terra!) goes up -- coinciding, usually, with a critical political juncture for the Republican party. Isn't that sweet -- the terrorists are helping the Republicans, and the White House in particular.
A recent diary by levymg deconstructed recent events that indicate we are slowly, steadily be prepared for yet another warning cry, and yet another pack loosed upon a sovereign nation on the say-so of our intrepid -- and often wrong, if not outright deceitful -- White House. Are we listening? Are we paying attention to what we are being told? More importantly, is Congress listening, paying attention and willing to take action to thwart another gamed play on the field of war?
The State of the Union
What the "State of the Union" address is -- what it is meant to be according to the Constitution -- and what we will receive (particularly from the Bush White House) are entirely different things. According to the Constitution, and as quoted on the White House site,
"The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
-- Article II, Sec. 3, U.S. Constitution
What we will receive will be a large steaming pile of propaganda, some dire warnings and soft promises that won't be kept -- we'll be lucky if Bush gives the nation a virtual peck on the cheek after he slips out the back door in the morning, pants and shoes in hand.
What do I think the current SOTU should cover, and what it should describe and make clear in agonizing detail? Ah...perhaps we should first consider the various names by which I would present it:
- The State of Chaos
With an Administration that resists oversight and accountability, two wars ongoing plus one bombing campaign (Somalia), an escalation and a "show of force" in the offing, there is no other way to describe what has been wrought upon the world.
- The State of Confusion
Even among their own party, confusion reigns supreme as the now-worried "party faithful" realize they have little to no control over the Decider and his cabal of lunatics, watching helplessly as they plunge onward into the various quagmires of their own inauspicious design.
- The State of Decay
Our rights, our freedoms, our liberties and privileges are being folded, bent, mutiliated, spindled, cut and walked upon even as our social, educational and healthcare safety nets are disassembled.
- The State of Denial
The worldwide problem of global environmental impact and change is denied, as are other "inconvenient truths" that impede the projection of yet greater rights and freedoms upon the corporations and the elite -- all at the expense of the majority. And all, of course, steadfastly denied.
- The State of Disaster
The World Trade Center cleanup, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the rebuilding of New Orleans and the whole Middle Eastern adventure -- glaring examples of disastrous policies, arrogant assumptions, misplaced ideologies and pure abject greed in action.
- The State of Emergency
Our rush to a bigger buildup in the Gulf, coinciding with the Surge into Iraq and a tougher set of talk about Iraq, all while the policy of "Unitary Executive" is augmented and signing statements are issued in an attempt to create a cushion of immunity for an Administration hell-bent on destruction have created an ongoing Constitutional Crisis of emergency proportions. Which major factor, what major element will fail first? Or will several, or all, aspects of our society fail in a spectacular implosion that will take historians centuries of debate to finally clarify, define and coument?
- The State of Failure
The Presidency of George W. Bush.
- The State of Terror
We -- our nation, our Executive Branch -- have become the Wolf that we fear so much. Secret rendition, torture, questionable (and usually deniable) habeas corpus, illegal wiretapping, attempts to silence whistleblowing patriots and shut down or unduly pressure any of the news and media outlets with any integrity that are still left standing...We have become a terror state, ruled by the wolves who seek to keep us scared so that we dare not act against them in time to forestall their actions and hold them accountable.
Each and every one describes the condition of our country. Pick one, or several. Elaborate if you like; you'd only be preaching to the choir. Most Americans are beginning to see this now. Those who can't, won't. (See "State of Denial" to understand those who won't see what is right in front of them, inasmuch as one can understand blind denial and unwavering, misplaced faith.)
The ascent of the neoconservative ideology has finally reached its zenith; their moon and stars waxed over a nation bewitched by their words and minions, and now wane as the deeds they have done are revealed as by the dawning of a new day. They donned the cloak of patriotism in order to slay the true spirit of the nation, much as Brutus and the rogue Senators betrayed Caesar, and now the nation -- brutally beaten and plundered under their watch -- awaits their words of deception once again.
But the nation does not wait idly.
Just as Marc Antony rose to speak upon the death of Caesar in Shakespeare's play, we have a man standing up to speak after the words of our modern Brutus -- Jim Webb. Antony's words should be ringing in our ears as the Decider's words echo emptily across the continent:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones: (80)
So let it be with Caesar.
So let it be with the nation we once knew, and shall know again.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know. (105)
You all did love him once,--not without cause:
What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him?--
Just as Eve Perone may have sung "Don't cry for me Argentina," we should not weep for our nation. It is down, but not out for the count. And what of the words spoken by our own dear "Brutus" of the threat of terrorism (Wolf!) and the vulnerability of our nation (WOLF!) -- what of those words? Shakespeare's Antony, through his oration to the citizens of Rome, began and often repeated an ironic line:
Brutus says he was ambitious; (90)
And Brutus is an honourable man.
It is with those words of irony, my friends, that Antony captured the hearts and minds of the people. It is through his descriptions of each dagger wound (warrantless wiretapping, secret renditions, torture) that he lays the case so plainly for the betrayal of the man (nation) -- each wound assigned to a betrayer, and the particular cruelty of each cut given voice:
Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd; (180)
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it,--
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;
Here, now, we find ourselves similarly betrayed by those who have us believe they are but trusted servants of our nation.
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel: (185)
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;
Our nation, imperiled and mortally wounded by the cuts and stabs of her own stewards.
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, (195)
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
Bloody treason. Words to live by. Words to die by.
Truer words have never been; we are betrayed.
Jim Webb, we leave and bequeath it unto you and your words, pray bring a sense of sanity back to our mindless masses, that we may all see and finally comprehend the dangerous path our nation now has before us. The taint of treason by those in the highest offices threatens to infect our national body; our Congress must make this right. Our people must voice their dissent, and drive the wolves from office once and for all.
Jim, become our Antony.
I'm not going to watch the State of the Union as presented by George W. Bush. I'll catch it in smaller, digestible chunks that I can control, via video. I won't subject my family to any more of the charade that has so weakened our nation and endangered liberty and justice throughout the world.
I'm just not in that kind of state of mind.
2. Here's a couple of things to read:
3. The "threat" is more than just the alleged Iranian attempt at provocation; the "threat" to our nation is the potential impact to both the nation and the world -- and the reaction of the world -- if Bush/Cheney's current folly continues unchecked and results in an attack on Iran. As militarytracy points out over on Docudharma, there have been several not-so-subtle warning by both China and the Soviet Union recently: warnings that any sane leader would best not ignore, but which likely fall upon deaf ears within the Bush Administration's bully-'em-all mentality. Warnings that our military leaders -- those who haven't been replaced or forced out (or shot) -- are likely to understand, as will any remaining members of the State Department or intelligence agencies who haven't lost their remaining marbles.
Chinese Subs stalking the Kitty Hawk and this from August that we denied happened but the Russians couldn't wait to brag about
Russian bombers are reported to have buzzed an American military base for the first time since the Cold War when they flew over the Pacific island of Guam.
US denies Russian jets buzzed Pacific base.
Moscow said that US fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the two Tupolev-95 warplanes as they resumed the Cold War era practice of flying over Western offshore military installations in a mission on Wednesday.
The incident, seen as the latest attempt by a revitalised Russia to project its military might, is likely to have unnerved the Pentagon and caused further perplexity at the State Department over the Kremlin's mercurial course.
The US military was silent about the mid-air confrontation but the Russians were happy to boast about it.
"It was always the tradition of our long-range aviation to fly far into the ocean, to meet (US) aircraft carriers and greet (US) pilots visually," Maj Gen Pavel Androsov, the head of long-range aviation in the Russian air force, told a press conference in Moscow.
According to the general, two Tupolev-95 bombers flew from Blagoveshchensk, on Russia's border with China, to the US naval base at Guam in the West Pacific during a 13-hour round trip on Wednesday.
4. I believe that half the Republicans who are announcing retirement are doing so as part of a deal to avoid embarassing revelations and prosecutions, in a bid to keep their faux integrity and spurious honor intact; I would expect seven more, at least, to leave before August. That's just my spur-of-the-moment flash of unsubstantiated insight, but it makes sense to me at this very moment. I hope I'm wrong, unless -- if true -- this results in the impeachment, removal and subsequent prosecution of the primary players: Bush, Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld (yeah, I know he's 'gone'), Rice and a myriad of others. If I'm right, and there's no subsequent followup, then we lose not once, but twice, for each one who bails and avoids embarassment, prosecution and disbarment from any opportunity to reap the rewards of the crimes committed on our time and on our dimes.
Pretty cynical, eh?
Happy New Year. :/