Saturday, August 13, 2005

Reaching the tipping point

You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism.”
-Cindy Sheehan
(live blog and videos at Truthout's Cindy page - the 8/11 press conference video has the couple from Hinesville, Ga in it)

We are clearly near some kind of tipping point.

Cindy Sheehan is inspiring Americans to make their own stand, speak their own truth about the Iraq attack and occupation. Her spontaneous trip to Crawford has turned into a media explosion. Her clear, blunt articulation of the issues is forcing people to face the truth about it all:

And the other thing I want him to tell me is ‘just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism.

“There, I used the ‘I’ word – imperialism, and now I’m going to use another ‘I’ word – impeachment – because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail.”

That's pretty much what needs to be said, isn't it? The unvarnished truth. Is there anyone in America who can't understand that?

The poll numbers keep going up for opposition to the war and down for support of Bush. One MSNBC online poll, not a valid sample but interesting, showed 95% of respondents thought we'd been lied to in order to get us to go along with the attack on Iraq.

The most interesting thing to me is that Cindy doesn't shrink from the third “I” word, Israel. You could search the last few years of mainstream media and not find any significant instances of people willing to connect Israel and terrorism. It's the forbidden connection, kinda like “fuck” is the forbidden word.

But it's the simple truth. As people begin hearing these simple, clear statements, even the most apathetic and the most conservative must begin to verge on that radical path called thinking. Once that happens, the Bush/PNAC group is done for.

At least within a democratic context. And that's the other tipping point we may be at. What will they do if they are convinced that the tide of popular opinion is turning decisively against them?

As Ariannna Huffinington says, “How much longer can the Bushies get away with mauling the very values they profess to stand for before their supporters start getting wise to the fact that the only value they really value is power?”

When that really happens, what will they do? In my investigations of fascism last year, one thing that came clear was that the administration has not found it necessary to implement any kind of repressive measures, though their ideology clearly includes that as an option, because most people have been easily hoodwinked into going along with their program by the right-wing echo chamber and their compliant mainstream media friends.

Cindy Sheehan's words are very like the boy in the crowd calling out to his mother, “The emperor has no clothes!” Once the emperor's new clothes are seen for what they are by the majority, what will happen?

Stan Goff, one of the best bloggers around and an expert on military matters, seems to suggest that martial law is being considered as an option (see Roadmap to Martial Law).

Another suggestion floating around in hyperspace is that there's a huge, horrendous terrorist attack brewing – possibly involving nuclear weapons already in place in the US – and that the administration is laying low on it, as it will play into their hands, giving them the kind of fear levels that will allow them to keep doing whatever they want to internationally and domestically. Of course, these same conspiracy theorists suggested that Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, and we all know that just couldn't be true...

John Albanese, who runs Crisis in America, admittedly a fairly conspiracy-oriented site, lays out a very startling set of facts in an editorial at Old American..., including some chilling “final warning” quotes from Al Queda, such as: "Our message is clear -- what you saw in New York and Washington and what you are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq, all these are nothing compared to what you will see next." He refers to Chomsky's recent statement, “The probability of apocalypse soon cannot be realistically estimated, but it is surely too high for any sane person to contemplate with equanimity,” and says that several experts have warned about such an eventuality, including Robert McNamara (Apocalypse Soon) and William Perry.

Chomsky's article last Saturday lends support to this idea, as he discusses the danger of an escalation of the “cycle of attack and response,” and discusses McNamara's warnings about the unacceptable risks our nuclear policies pose in the world.

Albanese also quotes former CIA agent Michael Scheuer from an interview:

TONY JONES: Do you still believe that it is close to inevitable that bin Laden will obtain and use a nuclear weapon on US soil?

MICHAEL SCHEUER: Sir, I think it's pretty close to a certainty for several reasons. First, he has religious authorization to do it which is for him the most important thing. Second, we've known for the better part of a decade he has a very professional organization made up of physicists, engineers, technical experts, trying to purchase such a weapon and making sure his organization doesn't get scammed in the process. But most importantly during the presidential election last year we became aware that the Soviet nuclear arsenal wouldn't be under control until 2010. And as kind of a coda to that we know of course that the Soviets have told us they've up to 100 small nuclear devices that aren't accounted for, as they say.

In addition, he discusses some bizarre leaks about a US nuclear attack on Iran. I'm not quite clean on the relationship between these two ideas, other than they both involve nuclear weapons. Then he presents this startling conclusion:

There is no doubt that the neo-conservative leadership is in crisis:

1. The war in Iraq is all but lost and falling into Iranian hands

2. The economy’s housing bubble is ready to pop

3. Oil is at an all-time high, with winter approaching

4. A grand jury appears poised to zero in on the White House

5. The president’s approval ratings is at historic lows

6. The Downing Street memos, as well as myriad other sources of evidence are slowly revealing the awful truth behind the lies and high crimes of this administration

And while it appears that this administration is politically ill, we must all force ourselves to consider the possibility that another “catalyzing event” might be just the medicine that the neo-conservative doctors are ordering up.”

What all this really means is hard to say, but it seems clear that we must be on the alert and ready to make some radical moves ourselves. We can certainly no longer afford the complacent attitudes that pervade our country. Fascism – overt repression and suspension of the Constitution - could become a reality in the US if we are not vigilant and well-prepared.

This post in solidarity with Progressive Bloggers Union, PBU33