It's amazing to me how the mainstream media is only now coming to this conclusion about our war case. The only reason I started bloggin in the first place was my alarm at the absurd coverage of the war and its justification. I wrote a protest on the eve of the war, which I mailed and submitted to every media outlet I could find, and subsequently posted it on this site after its creation.
It's a crucial time in American history. The incompetent, scandalous and crooked are becoming the norm. The latest incident involving the forgery of the Niger nuclear documents is a telling case-in-point. Confronted with this development, a key component of our case for war against Iraq, all we get from our leaders and these documents' former champions is a shrug. Oh well, we passed it along in "good faith". We are not incompetent, or criminal, it just managed to "slip through". Forget about it. And we couldn't have been responsible for it, because our people are competent, talented professionals who surely would have done a better job of forging these documents. And so on...
...[and] anyone who's looking for reasons, to engage their reason, to determine the right thing to do, the moral course of action, will find nothing but ideology and fiction, speculation and threats, forgeries and plagiarism emanating from our most competent war orators. The mere presence of a plagiarized, decade-old student thesis, and the aforementioned Niger document forgery, as key references for our case is more telling than anything else. The plagiarized student claiming to have been able to give more updated information if he had been consulted only adds insult to injury.
This is my story, and my reason for being here. I'm glad I found the blogosphere, and believe our responsibility to be great. What responsibility you may ask? To bring the wide amount of information and news available on the Internet into focus and to make it accessible. Made-to-order global news filtering. Not to mention opinion. And I firmly believe this will impact the mainstream media themselves. This war in Iraq is a test case for a new policy of sharing information and dissent, and not just for demonstrating America's new national security strategy.
To be honest, I challenge you to read my protest and find anything much different than you find in this article in yesterday's Independent entitled How The Road To War Was Paved With Lies...
The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
A high-level UK source said last night that intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war with Iraq. "They ignored intelligence assessments which said Iraq was not a threat," the source said. Quoting an editorial in a Middle East newspaper which said, "Washington has to prove its case. If it does not, the world will for ever believe that it paved the road to war with lies", he added: "You can draw your own conclusions."
Only now we're discovering this? This shameless political manipulation of national security and intelligence, not to mention unapologetic arrogance in deceiving and browbeating the international community, UN, and especially France? Think about this for a minute. If this really was about us flexing our muscles and showing everyone who is boss, especially the Islamic World, why did we so slander and disparage the French? Why were they so obligated to go along with our new security strategy, which clearly positions everyone but us as bit players? We clearly need a more inclusive and enlightened style of leadership and approach to solving problems and forming policy.
Everyone makes mistakes, including me, you, and our great nation. Perfection is not an option, or even a desired value, and we needn't worry about it. Self-awareness and integrity, on the other hand, are well within our control, both as individuals and as a nation, and at bottom require taking ownership and accountability for our actions, knowing why we do them, and being aware of their consequent effects. Unfortunately, as the masters of secrecy and plausible deniability, we never own up to anything.
Thus our dilemma. One cannot act with integrity and at the same time duck information that would seem to prove one otherwise. This is called weakness. Strength is facing the conflicting information with open eyes, ears and minds, evaluating, challenging, responding, discrediting, acknowledging and integrating. Engaging. Perhaps more than anything else, reveling in the newfound wellspring of information and global communication we've constructed, and building new alliances and finding novel solutions to age-old problems. Surely this sounds better than plausibile deniability and shock-and-awe warfare, doesn't it? I hope so. Never forget that this is our life, our time, and our place, and we're free to pursue these great adventures and vast challenges ahead with integrity rather than plausible deniability, if we choose to do so. We should. These are heady times, and we are ready people.
We need to start by being more vigilant, and demanding openness, accountability, integrity and sharing of information. Our government here in America has now forfeited its claim to secrecy in almost any matter. When Clinton was president, much progress was made in declassifying information and implementing the Freedom of Information Act. The Bush Administration has rolled this back, ostensibly for national security reasons. But with this revelation in today's Independent, along with those we already knew before the war, it's clear that this secrecy is being cynically used for political purposes. That in fact intelligence assessments are being strangely and terribly twisted to support policy and conclusions that the facts just don't support. To me, this shames our great nation, and dishonors our name and puts a shadow on our integrity. It's time that all patriots step up and take a stand on this. This is not how we should do business, and it will certainly not win friends and allies in the war against terrorism.