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Sunday, September 19, 2004

A BALLOT IN BLOOD 

FROM THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES: DISSEMINATE FREELY.

SIX WEEKS TO ELECTION DAY
By Jack Random

“Every American needs to believe this: that if we fail here in this environment, the next battlefield will be in the streets of America.” Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez.

Six weeks before the presidential election, the only doubt that remains about the failure of the war in Iraq resides on Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital. The reality of failure in Iraq, the keystone of the neo-conservative Bush Doctrine on foreign policy, has settled in the gut of every military analyst in the world yet it remains an enigma to the American electorate. Where are the embedded reporters now to record the carnage and indiscriminate destruction, to document the failure of the war they so enthusiastically promoted?

The dark secret that is apparently kept from our president’s ears and closely guarded by a corporate media is this: The continued occupation of Iraq can only continue to drain our resources as it continues to claim the lives of men, women and children, soldiers and civilians, who did nothing to deserve the fate of a violent and premature death. We will not succeed in securing America’s oil supply. We will not succeed in installing a puppet government. We will only succeed in uniting our enemies. Is this what the president meant by “catastrophic success”?

Six weeks before the election, we are confronted with the political reality that the president still leads in most of the wildly fluctuating polls and that our collective fate is not in our own hands. It is rather in the hands of a complicit media, a media that have failed every test of social responsibility in this chain of historical events, and in the hands of those hopelessly uninformed swing voters in the battleground states of Missouri, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, New Mexico, et al. As a citizen of an uncontested state, my vote will have no impact. As a voice without access to the critical voters, I have no say.

Why should we press on? We press on because we believe in democracy and in a democracy, the people must be engaged. We press on because we would not forgive ourselves if we did not. We press on because we made a vow during the Vietnam era that we would never be complacent if our leaders ever again took us to war for false and immoral reasons. We will continue to speak out because there is no viable option. We will continue to assert truth to power before and after the election because some things must not be left unsaid.

Our government, having lost every stated rationale for war, would have us now believe that they cleverly lured our enemies onto the battlefield of Iraq. How clever is it to lure your enemies into their own back yard? How clever is it to commit our soldiers to a country surrounded by enemies, where even our “friends” oppose us, where our troops are overextended and the supply of insurgents is endless? Such an assertion would be laughable if it were not so tragic.

But we have rid the world of Saddam Hussein and that alone makes the war worthwhile. What was Saddam Hussein on the eve of invasion besides a ruthless dictator? He was a toothless tiger who posed no threat even to his closest neighbors. He was defeated in war and utterly disarmed. No nation on earth was more effectively or publicly contained that Saddam’s Iraq. If dictatorship alone is just grounds for military invasion, then we had better be prepared to go to war not only with Syria, Iran and North Korea, but also Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, China and a baker’s dozen of African nations. Is this what the president has in mind? Then let him say so openly and allow the people to vote on a future of endless war.

Thanks to our government’s disastrous policies, Iran and North Korea are now openly defiant, Turkey is threatening to withdraw cooperation, Vladimir Putin has all but rescinded democracy in Russia, and any chance of a true international alliance has blown away with the latest hurricane winds.

We are nearing the end of a long and bitter fight to alter the nation’s course by electing a new president. The media complain that this election is characterized by dirty politics and partisan attacks. From my perspective, given the circumstance and the stakes, this has been the most tepid political campaign imaginable.

This administration is one of the most destructive and ineffective governments in our history. It has impoverished the already poor, diminished the middle class, and enriched the already rich by engineering the greatest turnaround (from surplus to deficit) of the nation’s fortune ever. It has neglected the basic needs of the people, dismantled the social safety net, and stripped away all government oversight to protect the profits of corporations. As if his domestic failure was not enough (or perhaps because it was not enough), the president has committed this nation to a disastrous war and that is the bottom line. You do not rehire a CEO when he has bankrupted the company and you do not retain a Commander-in-Chief when he has led you into an ambush.

I for one will not allow this election to pass without stating what I believe is the plain and honest truth: There is innocent blood on the president’s hands. In the end, it does not matter why. The president has thrust the nation to the precipice of endless war.

Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez (who resigned after the Abu Ghraib disgrace) was right for all the wrong reasons. We have failed in Iraq and the next battlefield is on the streets of America. It is not, however, a battle against terrorists. It is a battle for the heart and soul of American democracy. We have it in our power to end the reign of George the Terrible. If we do not stop him now, the blood will be on our hands as well.

Jazz.

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