When Free Speech Is Called Treason

Random Lengths News | December 9, 2005
The political hurricane that resulted from Congressman John Murtha’s public doubts about team Bush winning the war in Iraq has caused some of the Presidents surrogates to lash out asking, “When does free speech become treason?” Murtha, a Vietnam War vet, retired Marine Corps Colonel with 37 years service, and pro-military Democratic hawk was even temporarily called a coward on the floor of Congress, until furious Democrats demanded the charge be retracted, and refused to let anything further happen until it was. Backing off of this shrill defense, Bush has been barnstorming across the nation, speaking only at safe military venues, heralding a stay-the-course promise, which more than ever sounds like the question– stay which course? We’ve had so many since this religious fanatic, GW Bush, talked to God and then invaded Iraq without an exit plan. Even the generals are having doubts–those who have been too vocal have been replaced. What’s a nation to do?

Well admitting to a few basic truths amidst all of the lies, deceit and corruption would be a good start. First and foremost we will never be able to force-feed democracy down the throats of any people, especially when our military and covert agencies are torturing their countrymen in secret prisons and using “extraordinary rendition” to kidnap terrorist suspects without legal scrutiny. We will never instill the concept of liberty and the rights of freedom as long as we look the other way as Shia death squads deliver retribution to Sunni loyalists and ultimately there will never be the rule of law, the cornerstone of any democracy, if the first trial of the new regime, that of Saddam Hussin, is not a fair, legitimate trial. It is not a popular thing to say but, “All, including Saddam, deserve a fair trial”, according to former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who is now in Baghdad serving as co council to the former dictator.

The voices of dissent continue to rise since the very first indication that Bush was leading this country into this misguided war. The other day Democratic Party Chairman, Howard Dean spoke on the radio in San Antonio, Texas, “The idea that we’re going to win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong”. The loyal Republicans who weigh in call this a willingness to surrender. No this is just an admission of the fact that we are and have been losing this war for a long time. Not because we don’t have a superior military force or that our citizens don’t support the troops in arms, they after all just following orders, but because we have never won this kind of war ever, unless we were willing to occupy the land permanently, like we did with the American Indians.

From the time before the Spanish American war down to Vietnam and beyond, our history is strewn with so-called military victories and requisite political defeats, thinking all the while that we are bringing freedom and liberty to these “lesser peoples” who will rise up and embrace the true enlightenment of the American creed -- freedom and liberty for all . The truth is that American gun-boat diplomacy has brought huge economic gains for a few and imperialistic hegemony upon the many, but little that resembles democracy unless you include Hawaii and Puerto Rico—neither of which is entirely happy with their status to these days. Even in the Philippines after being “liberated” from Spain we spent years fighting a guerrilla insurgency but had to occupy it as a protectorate for the next forty years, fight another world war and liberate it from the Japanese again, before we could trust them with self-rule. And we still have soldiers fighting the Islamic terrorists there today. Are we willing to do the same for Iraq? And just what do we define as winning?

Our Commander-in-Chief , the great GW, who—like so many others in his administration—has never seen one day of battle himself, has already declared victory in Iraq once, all dressed up in a flight suit like a 7-year old kid on Christmas morning. But if this is what winning means, then perhaps we all should reconsider the alternative.

Our nation has been quite efficient at waging war over the years, sometimes even declaring them before we started bombing. But my suggestion to Congress is that before we lose this one in a completely ignoble fashion that we simply declare PEACE. The Democrats in Congress should just enter a resolution declaring a unilateral secession of conflict, call for an peace conference in some neutral third country and direct the President to have our military slowly back away from the conflict, only defending itself when attacked.

The basic problem is that the example that we insist on providing the rest of the world of a freedom-loving, tolerant democracy is riddled with obvious hypocrisy, greed, corruption and a large helping of Bible-beating intolerance–just look around you. When we have so perfected our model of liberty, and have risen to challenge of the quest for freedom that our forefathers have set out for us, there will be no need to force this “enlightenment of liberty” upon others at gunpoint. They will, in the end, simply steal it and call it their own. And we should be wise enough not to stand in their way when it happens.

All that our leaders are arguing about now is where to position the last machine guns, while GW refuses to see the inevitable end as he sinks in the Iraqi quagmire of blood for oil. If speaking the truth to this kind of corruption of power is treason, then let us all stand accused. In Guilty of still having an ounce of uncorrupted humanity, a consciousness of the real meaning of liberty and the belief that we are better as a people in total than the actions of our so-called leaders.

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Founded in 1979 as a counterbalance to the conservative, corporate- owned daily paper, Random Lengths News draws on the rich history of the Los Angeles Harbor Area. The name harkens back to a description of the lumber that used to...
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