The Worst

| May 30, 2007 | 0 Comments

I often try to think back to Vietnam and ask myself whether today’s situation is really worse than Vietnam. It feels a lot worse, but that may just be because it is now and memories fade. Many of the atrocities, both real and mataphorical, that outrage us today, also occurred during Vietnam. Bad or deceptive intelligence, threats against consitutional rights and torture were part of the bill of particulars against Johnson and then Nixon. Of course, in Vietnam, there were 55,000 dead and we’re only up to 3,500 now. But still, why does this feel so much worse.

Well, one reason is that it was so predictable, which makes it even more tragic. You would think that the experience of Vietnam would have educated us at least enough to avoid the same mistakes again. Of course, Bush learned nothing from Vietnam, except maybe how to use connections to avoid any inconvenience visited upon himself.

But the real reason this is worse is because the misbehavior during Vietnam was wrong and those doing it knew it was wrong. They truly believed that the constitutional violations, the torture and the skewing of intelligence was necessary for some great good. But they also knew that, if it came out, they’d be screwed.

On the other hand, this crowd is actively trying to institutionalize the misbehavior. They are advancing consitutional theories that justify Presidential authority beyond all precedent. While they have tried to hide their activities, when caught, they seek to justify them under the unitary executive, which is another name for fascism.

That’s why it’s worse. Past “crimes” were always pretty much understood to be crimes. These crimes are portrayed as patriotic duty. In this way, they are trying to change the country into something different than what it was. As I read recently somewhere, Bush and Cheney gave an oath not to proect the American people or the physical boundaries of the United States. Their oath was to protect the Constitution. An oath they have violated repeatedly and continue to do so.

God Save the United States of America. That’s what it will take, I fear, for us to survive the next 18 months.

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