In 2007 something huge didn't happen. It will never enter the history books. It will more than likely never even get a footnote.
It was the war between Iran and the U.S.
Up until about a month ago that war looked pretty much certain. So many folks on both the right and the left were foretelling it. The drums of war were beating almost as loudly as the run up to the shock and awe of the Iraq War. Bush's bellicose statements were everywhere. The people in the know were telling us it was going to happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- would probably involve tactical nuclear weapons from both the U.S. and maybe Israel, but then a funny thing happened on the way to the history books.
Somebody in the CIA blew a whistle. Someone, somewhere, behaved like a hero, not a superhero, flying around with muscles of steel blowing things up, or even someone like Willis or Stallone who can wise crack as he (guilt free) slaughters the bad guys. Just a human who will probably never be known because he/she/they made nothing happen.
Which is what I want to celebrate with all my heart.
I want that non-hero to know how much it means to me -- that woman, man, team -- wandering around out there feeling, well...who knows what they're feeling right now with the CIA under such attack around those tapes being destroyed -- a bad thing, those tapes, the torture, the whole ugly, ugly mess, but it's interesting, isn't it, the timing? A whistle gets blown by someone in one agency and then everyone that matters in the country -- the government, the press, etc. -- rips that agency apart.
But that's not my point, nor is it in anyway to let the CIA off the hook for its sordid past. Rather my point is to say to whoever that nobody is out there: thank you, thank you, thank you! You've done more this past year -- no, strike that -- you've done less this year for this world than everybody else put together. I salute you.
2007 is your year, as far as I'm concerned.
And maybe 2008, 2009 and so on. I mean look what happened when everybody in the know had no guts back in 2001 to let fly that little piece of truth (which most of us not in the know knew already) that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Not doing a little tiny thing back then has cost us a whole lot now, hasn't it: over a trillion dollars gone and still counting; thousands of lives gone and still counting (if we don't count the Iraqis -- which makes it probably hundreds of thousands); our country hobbled and split (if you don't count Iraq or Afghanistan split and devastated and plundered) or, um...Pakistan flying apart and now there's even talk about Saudi Arabia starting to crumble and so on...?
Nice going everybody back then.
Nice going Mister or Missus or the quiet team of heroes in 2007. You helped a lot of people dodge a lot of bullets and missiles, and very possibly tactical nukes.
There are no words to express what that means.
And maybe you've been called a wimp by the bullies and already secretly fired or transferred to Outer Mongolia. The Bush administration certainly tried to discredit you in the week or so after your leaked report first came out. Remember Bush and Company blithely talking about how this report actually proved how dangerous the Iranians were? That was pretty wild! Even Senator Clinton condemned the Iranian Guard as terrorists. But it's all faded from the front pages now, hasn't it. Why? All those giant stories in all those big important papers and powerful blogs. Why? Why has something so solid faded away so completely? Because that report was the truth. Because there reaches a point when all the calculated lies and brilliantly placed "stories" run up against something that is ultimately indestructible.
It took awhile in Iraq: weapons of mass destruction; the people who were going to welcome us with open arms; the invasion that was going to be so easily paid for by Iraq's oil. It took us a little bit of blood, and money and corruption and torture and murder and immorality to get to the truth, but here we are. This Iraq war has been a terrible mistake. The whole thing was built on lies. Amazing, isn't it, how many still cling to those lies -- nearly all the presidential frontrunners, most of Congress? I'll put money on the right wing Supreme Court being in favor of it too. Because when you've been lying for so long it's a bitch to stop. Kinda like cigarettes or drugs or like buying into Bush having legitimately become our President back in 2000. What do we do if we make ourselves really face that lie?
Which brings up another point.
You kind of have to wonder what would have happened if the other guy had been put into Oval Office, the one who actually won -- and not just the popular vote, by the way. Gore won Florida hands down. Remember the butterfly ballot, the blacks knocked off the voting rolls, the incredible intimidation, Bush's brother, Governor Jeb? Come on, we all know what happened there. Nearly all the exit polls said Gore won. As I remember most of the networks called Florida for Gore at first. So what happened to those exit polls which up till then had been so precise? We just don't want to face it because it's really a bitch for us. The presidency was stolen. The country's government hijacked. Anything short of that is a lie. And in the end lies have a way of being found out. In the end.
Lucky for the Iranians at least the lie about them got found out at more or less the beginning.
But let's go back to what might have happened if Al Gore had been president -- which was what the American people wanted back in 2000 if you truthfully count the votes. What would have happened when September 11th, 2001 hit? What would Gore have done in that profoundly tragic and criminal moment? Well, look at him now, carrying on about this global warming thing. And what was that beard he wore after losing? And why didn't he stand up to those Bushies in Florida when it was really was his election to win?
What was wrong with him?
The truth is we know the truth about that too. Gore's a bit of a wimp. Right? I mean that's what the bullies certainly called him. And isn't that kinda what we felt about him too? He was that A-student who was a wimp and a wonk and I'll bet they would have had to push him into even invading Afghanistan. He would have waffled, the wimp. And Iraq? Are you crazy? Even Bush's father wasn't ballsy enough to go into that place and make it stick. The older Bush was also what a lot of the tough guys called a wimp when he got trounced by Clinton because he said we'd have to raise taxes. What a wimp. Oh, and by the way, wimps don't get elected to second terms. Bush senior didn't, Jimmy Carter didn't -- look what happened when he didn't blow Iran to smithereens when they took our hostages. And if Gore had been president and had behaved as he had behaved around that Florida thing, he probably would have started thinking twice or maybe even three or four times about going into Afghanistan and then surely he would have hesitated about Iraq, maybe even done nothing in the end -- well, he surely wouldn't have gotten a second term after that, just like he didn't get his first term.
But then, well, we wouldn't be stuck with this trillion dollar war, would we? Ironic, huh? And confusing...
Which is why the truth is so helpful. Because if you're a so called wimp you get to lean on it. You get to have the truth support you. You get to know that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iran and instead of being gutsy and winging it, you get to point to the truth. Sorry, can't go in there, can't take that country with its resources just because we want it. You get to understand that the Iranian people aren't hankering for war at all. That they want to live in peace and prosperity like the rest of us.
And lastly, as a so called wimp, you get to weep for all those innocent men, woman and children who will never get to live their lives because the truth wasn't spoken in time. You get to weep till your heart is empty and bereft for the cowardice that we all must own because that's the flip side of being wimps -- seeing the truth, sure, but not being willing to risk everything we've got to protect it. Gore should have done that, frankly. But then who among us really stood up in those darkest days of Homeland Security, when we suspected (and maybe it was true) that our phones and computers were being tapped? I didn't. So there's blood on my hands too.
Nonetheless I'm going to celebrate the bravery of others who certainly must have risked everything to bring out that report on Iran. I'm going to celebrate their heroism and honor the irony that they were part of the CIA and I'm going try to fight the cowardice in myself when the too easily exhausting lies surface again, when the mention of a war with Iran, or a war with anyone else reemerges, as surely it will, as surely as a thousand other lies will rise up to meet us. And then I, along with whoever else is up for it, will have to be ready to sift through it all again, to search for the nurturing truth and be as brave as whoever those nobodies were in 2007 who gave us the gift of nothing which I guess you could say in the end is the gift of everything, isn't it?