THE BLOG
11/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Big Lie At The Heart Of McCain's Ayers Campaign

Yesterday I ran the following on my blog:

Tom Brokaw and every other journalist I have seen or read has neglected the following qualification from Bill Ayers which I have published at least twice before in this blog. It is a crucial qualification and the MSM has been shameful to ignore it. I know I am not in the loop of those blogs which are typically referenced by the MSM. But any of these high-profile bloggers could have found the same information and seen its importance. SOURCE

I'm often quoted saying that I have "no regrets." This is not true. For anyone paying attention--and I try to stay wide-awake to the world around me all/ways--life brings misgivings, doubts, uncertainty, loss, regret. I'm sometimes asked if I regret anything I did to oppose the war in Viet Nam, and I say "no, I don't regret anything I did to try to stop the slaughter of millions of human beings by my own government." Sometimes I add, "I don't think I did enough." This is then elided: he has no regrets for setting bombs and thinks there should be more bombings.

I have since found a MSM reference to the Ayer's blog and this quote -- in an April 17 Washington Post blog piece. SOURCE

So I stand corrected. The truth was out.

Ayers did not say he wished they had bombed more.

We would not expect the McCain Campaign, or its FOX flaks, to care about a crucial and subtle distinction. But heft is what matters in battles over truth. We need pieces now that make the distinction until the likes of MSNBC stop propagating the no regrets about bombing lie.

Ayers has said consistently that he regrets more was not done to end the war. This is a regret all Americans can share. To have this regret is not a sign of being anti-American.

In a deep sense, this election really is about turning the page on the thinking that would divide us by whether we have regrets about Vietnam. Or Iraq. Or war period. When last I looked, there was a right to consciously object and even to refuse to serve.

One can be a conscientious objector and be fully an American and be fully supportive of our veterans and appreciate their sacrifice. Sadly, though, we seem skewed toward an uncritical form of patriotism that would not allow the nuanced statement of William Ayers to rise above the level of a despicable excuse.

Whatever you may think of Ayers' statement, its distortion by McCain amounts to a big lie. The entire McCain-RNC robocall initiative contributes to a venomous sort of polarization that may warm the cockles of the MSM's immature heart, but which can lead to lethal harm. The Weathermen were products of such polarization. It is a supreme irony that the source of such polarization is now the McCain campaign.

Some day there will be a movement to end war that goes beyond a marginal, minority status. When that movement succeeds, our Defense Department will be devoted to defense more than to aggression. And we will not uncritically invest the bulk of our dollars in an effort to fight wars that are essentially unwinnable.

Turning the page means opening up the possibility of a better way, one which sees things as a spectrum rather than in terms of good and bad, black and white. And it means looking at the actions of a William Ayers objectively and not rather than through the lens of political opportunism.

The McCain-RNC robocall initiative moves that sorry aggregation ever closer to the end of the spectrum that leads to the very jaws of hell.