Thursday, April 26, 2007

McCarthyism Is Alive And Well

Last night I watched the Bill Moyers Journal[1] entitled, “Buying The War”. What this administration did in the run up to the war was criminal. They bullied, coerced, and lied throughout the whole process. What the media did was worse than criminal, it was cowardly. It merely points out the need for all of us to remain vigilant, because we no longer have any one willing to question the party line. The overriding sentiment expressed by reporter after reporter was a pervasive fear that they would be cast as unpatriotic if they questioned the information being put out by the administration. Does this sound familiar?

The main thing that troubles me is what will prevent this from happening again? None of the reporters whose job it was to investigate these claims has expressed any remorse concerning their behavior. They continually made excuses why they acquiesce to these false claims. I applaud the few reporters that were willing to risk their White House dinner privileges to tell the truth. They included Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel, and Bob Simon. The insanity of it is that these men did not have to conduct secret investigations to get at the truth; they just called and talked to the people who knew about the issues being reported. What a novel concept. While the mainstream press was calling pundits, these guys were calling the real experts who were telling a different story than the one being reported. If I were a “so-called” journalist I would feel ashamed, because do to their lack of courage we have men and women in Iraq who are dying. This is not some fluff story that “just got away” this ladies and gentlemen was about life and death and the carnage that has ensued. How these people get up every day and go to work is a mystery to me knowing that they have blood on their hands.

Once again, this proves that hype and hysteria still carries the day in America. Over and over we heard, “this is a post 9/11 world” to justify the lies and deceit. As if 9/11 gave this administration the license to suspend democracy, the free press, and personal freedoms. It’s funny we decry what Putin and others do, yet when a crisis arises here we do the exact same thing. Just because you say it isn’t the same thing, doesn’t make it different.

For those too young to remember, McCarthyism characterized some of the darkest days in American democracy. It was named after a Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, who through fear and intimidation made wild accusations and caused many people to be harmed in the name of democracy. It was during a time of fear of a communist plot to overthrow the government and infiltrators were considered to be everywhere.

McCarthyism is the term describing a period of intense anti-Communist suspicion in the United States that lasted roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. This period is also referred to as the Second Red Scare, and coincided with increased fears about Communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the actions of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, "McCarthyism" later took on a more general meaning, not necessarily referring to the conduct of Joseph McCarthy alone.

During this time many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned,[1] laws that would be declared unconstitutional,[2] dismissals for reasons later declared illegal[3] or actionable,[4] or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.

“Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence”. Call me crazy but didn’t we also have a case that was presented as fact based on inconclusive and questionable evidence? The former Secretary of State Colin Powell stated before the United Nations that we had “irrefutable proof” to back the claims for war. He detailed item after item of how Saddam Hussien was in violation and deserved to be toppled and Iraq invaded. Mr. Powell was sacrificed to sell this war. He had credibility that none of the others had. When Colin Powell said it, you could take it to the bank. This administration is gaining notoriety for providing human sacrifices. Mr. Powell today couldn’t sell umbrellas in Seattle.

The thing that frightens me the most is that all those hacks or pundits who sold this war to us and help to stroke the flames of unpatriotic fear are still employed. They are still making the rounds of the talk shows and their opinions are still being quoted. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. We should be boycotting any shows that still parade these hacks as experts and let them know that their services will be no longer required. How can you now claim any objectivity or credibility after this debacle has been exposed? What this incident has shown was that politics trumped the people. It is a sad state of affairs when politics are more important than the nation itself. This policy continues to this day in the daily headlines concerning this administration.

Yes my friends, McCarthyism is alive and well and just like before it must be defeated and exposed for the malignancy on democracy that it is.


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