Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Truth at the margins
THANK YOU to Democracy NOW! for explaining two important things - among thousands - that disappeared down the memory hole recently. First: the NY Times' complicity in promoting Ahmed Chalabi's lies in the lead-up to war. Second: what the hell ever happened to Scott Ritter.

This whole collective memory loss problem is pervasive. Whatever decisions are made at the pinnacle of power are immediately referred to as having represented the only reasonable thinking at the time. Who could have known the Iraqis would resist? Who could have known the WMDs were not a sure thing? Who could have known Chalabi was a shady dude? Who could have predicted soldiers would decide, in the current climate, to torture detainees? Who knew it was happening for months before the pictures hit the networks? For that matter, who could have predicted that we would forget about Afghanistan and leave them in chaos? Or that Al Qaeda would come out stronger than ever? These questions are all implied by the current "national dialogue" as represented in the mainstream media, not to mention Dem/Rep political debate. And they are presumed to be rhetorical - the answer to each one: why, nobody, of course. So they talk about it on Democracy NOW! or other "left-wing" media, and it's ignored as fringy, whacko squawking from a bunch of unpatriotic malcontents. I get so sick of lefties preaching to the choir in Harpers and The Nation and on Pacifica and Alternative Radio, but I keep reading and listening because they are so often the last refuge of truth.

And what's most amazing is that all these dissident journalists who've spent the last 20-40 years suspecting, investigating, and denouncing the CIA and military and other agents of the state are now interviewing them, using them as sources, holding them up as heroes: Scott Ritter, Joseph Wilson, Dick Clark, Gen. Wesley Clark, Gen. Anthony Zinni, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Santity, even freakin' Tom Clancy! Hardly the traditional darlings of the "liberal media." The emperor's-new-clothes analogies have become tired, but they persist becuase - unlike the story we heard as kids, where one kid screams "naked" and the whole kingdom snaps out of it - our own chorus of hundreds of millions around the world has now been joined by numerous members of the royal court, all screaming "Naked! BARE-ASS NAKED!" and the emperor just keeps on struttin it, butt-naked scribes in tow.

The latest novel from John Le Carre ends with a super-loyal veteran MI6 top spy writing a scathing, scandalous, extremely important, absolutely true article blowing the whistle on a murderous conspiracy of lies and violence in the War on Terror. It is published "on a not-for-profit website pledged to transparency in politics." "It was inevitable," he writes, "once the mainstream media on both sides of the Atlantic had (blown the story), that the usual Alternative Voices should have their day." The non-profit website is called "(t)he most prominent" of these voices. It may be the most significantly true-to-life turn in the novel - infuriating, heart-breaking, it would be hilarious satire if it weren't so painfully real.

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