Dissent in Democracy With Joe Wilson

I heard a true statesman speak last night.  Someone who holds onto the ideals our country is founded on, someone I can believe in.  Joe Wilson delivered an amazing lecture that reinforced my belief in my country.  Here is my summary, and I have included a link to the audio below.

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Wilson began by speaking about Iraq, about the fact that when he had previously been in Iowa to speak, he spent most of his time explaining why it was a bad move to go into Iraq.  He talked about two soldiers that recently died in Iraq and asked the question: What is the mission?  What is the specific task our soldiers are doing in Iraq? 

When a country goes to war the military operates by trying to successfully complete specific goals that all contribute to the mission they are on.  Wilson was pointing out that the fact two soldiers were guarding a bridge in Iraq three years after the country was liberated does not forward the mission of providing America with national defense. 

Wilson continued to speak on Iraq, and quickly got the room clapping when he said ‘Buying a yellow ribbon and sticking it on your car is not supporting the troops’.  Only by asking the hard questions, the difficult question of ‘Should we send our American men and women into battle?’ could this country make an informed decision.  It should have been a long debate involving a free and open converstation about whether sending troops to Iraq was justified by the national security goals they would achieve. 

He asked us to think back to before the Iraq war started, to think about the level of debate that had occurred.  Remember the news cycles?  Cheney and anyone else who could get time on a news show pushing the idea of a ‘smoking gun’.  Bush’s state of the union address, calling for the American people to go to war, to send our soldiers into death’s way. 

The fact is that this debate was steamrolled so that there would not be open debate on the issues.  Wilson has many years experience in the Middle East and while debating whether to go to Iraq, was told by his opponents that ‘experience in the region is overrated’.  How do you make such a critical decision to go to war without consulting those who know the most about the area, it’s cultures, society structure etc?

The answer is that you are not looking for the facts, you are conducting war to test your academic theory very clearly stated in PNAC’s documents.  You are playing chess with the lives of our soldiers so that you can try to change the world to best benefit you. 

Wilson best pointed this out by talking about when the administration first decided to use WMD’s as the cause for war, and how the way it was selected was becuase it was the only lie that they could all agree the American people would swallow.

He quoted George Orwell, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

Now that he had set the stage of the last few years of war, he began to explain to us what happens when you stand up and dissent to a government that will commit any form of deceit to further its own goals.  He talked about the false accusations leveled at him, from calling him a womanizer, an appeaser, and even a drug user.  They would do anything they could to discredit him and as we all know now they were willing to break the law to accomplish their goals.

Fortunately, Wilson was prepared for this, and did not have skeletons they could pull out of the closet to use against him.  Unfortunately, since they didn’t have anything factual about him, they made the decision to disclose his wife’s identity, making her the first american spy to be disclosed by it’s own government.

He didn’t say much about the Libby trial, except that he has been reading all the newspapers, and that he had talked to Fitzgerald earlier in the day.  Wilson told Fitzgerald that no matter the verdict, Fitz and his team have reaffirmed his belief that this is a country of laws, and not men.

I would have to say that the core feeling that I had as I walked away from the lecture last night, was that all the time and energy I’ve put into politics over the last six years was not in vain.  That by continuing to fight the corruption, by questioning my congresspeople, my governor, and my president, that I am fulfilling what the Constitution is about.  I am holding my government responsible.  I am participating in my Democracy.  I am truly being an American.

Other notes/issues discussed:

Current state of the press.  Quality of true investigative reporting is very bad right now. ‘Bob Woodward is the bookends to a generation of reporters, he broke watergate but failed to break Plamegate’.  Shortage of ‘dirt muckers’, most reporters rehash press releases.  Press was used to push administration lies, then to intimidate anyone who questioned the lies.  Administration used press to distribute disinformation campaign and then used press as a shield when lies were exposed.  Then humiliated press by forcing them to go to witness box in Libby trial.

Iran:  He said he couldn’t know for sure, but that Bush will probably order a bombing campaign against Iran.  10-14 days bombing nuclear facilities, including scientific communities.  He compared it to bombing Iowa State University.  Wilson said that Cheney regularly goes to the hill and talks with the republican congresspeople, and says ‘we will do Iran before the end of the presidency’.  High possibility that administration would be impeached if they bomb Iran.  Congress will not let administration use 2001 authorization for Iran, but will require a new authorization.

Crossposted to www.dailykos.com and www.realrepublic.com

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