Friday, February 08, 2008

War Crimes Trials for Mr. Jones

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network on 2/8/2008

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

- Bob Dylan, Ballad of a Thin Man, 1965

Shortly before he disappeared into the dark night Wesley Clark demanded that the beginnings of the war on Iraq be dug up and found and publicly explained before they got buried too deep. It is a good idea. Let’s have televised exploratory hearings. Let them be vast and let them last years and let them begin now.

It is an important idea, and now that the Government has admitted to torture, let’s also begin as well hearings and investigations into American war crimes. Not to get all judgmental, but for myself, I’d like to see something a little less touchy-feely than the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and something more akin to the McCarthy Hearings. Or better still, something like France’s war crime trials of the legendary and folkloric Vichy Swine which took TIME’s Man of the Year in 1931, Pierre Laval, and left him vomiting before a firing squad in 1945.

Here in northern New England the newspaper editors who for the first time in the 800-year history of the English-speaking people proposed on our op-ed pages that torture be a rational tool of diplomacy, have at least in some places been delegated to the night desk. But down the mountain; down there in the vast heartland, the actual torture buffs and advocates; agents and fellow travelers of the Popular Front of American Fascism have found their way out of that elite white trash journal, the National Review to the most important newspapers and magazines in the country. And discussion of torture in these venerable journals is now as common as hep-B and herpes duplex and as American as apple pie. First question to these people: Who raised you?

Perhaps we will need reeducation centers like those set up in Southeast Asia to reeducate communist soldiers, propagandists, prostitutes and others who lost their center in the heady and delirious mix of blood and ideology. Get them straight enough to be able to perform simple tasks like cutting tobacco or gutting fish with pride and humility.

Let’s go back to the beginning: Let’s have public discussion of ideas like those openly discussed – bragged about – throughout the media when most all the major columnists and journalist in this country and at least 90 Senators felt for sure early in 2001 that the war in Iraq would be a cake walk won in a week. It would be the key career move and anyone who didn’t participate would be left behind. Let’s go back to the Weekly Standard crew. One of its old school talked openly about sitting around the office and the whole bunch just trying to decide which country to cajole the compliant, submissive and decadent Congress of Peeps to invade first.

Are there not War Crime laws against conspiring to mass murder? Shouldn’t there be? Isn’t it, like, unConstitutional? Isn’t it unConstitutional to repeal habeas corpus? Why did the repeal of habeas corpus not ring with the urgency of a suddenly lost sacred talisman to the majority in Congress and in the press? And isn’t it therefore a RICO violation or a conspiracy to advocate overthrow of the Constitutional government? Are these people American war criminals and to what degree are they culpable? Should they at least be purged from our presence? Can’t they be sent some place like the Penal Colony of French New Guinea or the Galapagos Islands?

Let’s go back to the tapes of The Newshour with Jim Lehrer a week before the invasion and watch in the eyes and smiles the camaraderie and excitement the country’s most prominent journalists shared with the most common of war criminals, each egging on the other to their Great Moment which they were comparing to the invasion of Normandy.

Let’s go to the deeply involved journalist; the coat carriers at the NYTs; the top WaPost reporter who advocated invasion to get the Muslim women to be rid of the burkas and dress like her – the Priestess who accompanied the Conquistador – and to the most famous of TV reporters cheering on the way into Baghdad from a Humvee and telling the camera “ . . . I think their waving,” while the Iraqi people were throwing him the finger.

Let’s get to the bottom. Who was promoted to the highest perches of newspaper and media posts on the phony “Mission Accomplished” day and why? And why are they still there?

Who early proposed torture in the press and why are they now writing for major media? Are they not American terrorists? Can they not be imprisoned or exiled? And if we are going to suspend the Constitution, cannot Mr. Jones, anonymous and cowardly journalist and editor, storied in song and generational folk lore for knowing something is happening but not knowing what it is, with neither face nor character; cannot he be banished outright and purged from the village? Who are the central advocates? Who are the Ayatollahs?

Let’s talk to them. Let’s have everybody watch the explanation.

Let’s talk to all of them and Colin Powell who lied outright and let’s have Alan Dershowitz explain to us again as he did last year how the Clintons’ position on torture was (is?) much the same as his. And while we have them there let’s ask them why they made so little fuss at the dropping of habeas corpus. Let’s ask them why at each and every turn only Barack Obama and Ron Paul spoke up.

And let’s ask them why they are so intent on getting people to quit smoking or transfats, but torture is not that big of an issue for them.

But first of all let’s ask them this: Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you rise and swell at the magnificent vision of the Declaration of Independence being read by Americans of every shape, contrast and color? Did you awaken to Russell Crowe’s primal and sacred American vision of perfection leading the artist’s heart, and the troubadour’s and the athlete’s; the avatar’s and the politician’s - The Beatles and Jack Kennedy and Neil Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix and Satchmo and Randy Moss and Eli and Plaxico - to the moon and beyond? Do you consider yourself to be part of this sacred trust? Do you consider yourself part of this participation mystique? Do you consider yourself to be one of us?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, there should be trials.
We must bring the Federal Government back into the context of a Constitutional Government. The constraints of power by the Constitution must be brought back or we will sink into fascism. When I was in elementary school and high school in the fifties, we were taught the beauty and balance of our constitutional system. Habeus Corpus and the need for Congress to declare war were pointed to as excellent examples of our Constitution in action. What are they teaching in schools today?

Bernie Quigley said...

Habeas Corpus has been the talisman for Western democracy for hundreds of years even when there were other abuses. When a religion loses its talisman - be it the bible, the rosary, whatever - it loses its numinous or inner meaning and driving purpose: It loses its identity. That is perhaps the single-most ominous turning in this whole series of events; Habeas Corpus was dropped without a peep.

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