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We The People

Social Consciousness in a Terrifying New World

War Without End

"With the great mass of people structurally remote and psychologically hesitant with respect to democratic institutions, those institutions themselves attenuate and become, in the fashion of the vicious circle, progressively less accessible to those few who aspire to serious participation in social affairs. The vital democratic connection between community and leadership, between the mass and the several elites, has been so wrenched and perverted that disastrous policies go unchallenged time and again." - The Port Huron Statement, 1962

America considers itself to be the light of the world. Our freedoms and democracy are a beacon to all those nations and peoples who suffer injustice, who have no voice, who yearn for the liberties we so casually took for granted before the attacks. If we are to continue to be the light of the world, we must forgive them even as we seek our justice. We must rise above the hatred that brought them into war with us.

If we do not, we become them. If we do not, they win, even if we kill them all.

September 11th was a national trauma on the level of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Along the way, we saw bravery on a scale unmatched perhaps since a June day in 1944, when average Americans ran through a hail of steel and fire on a beach in France. What the police and firefighters ran through on September 11th was no less deadly. What our soldiers currently face in Afghanistan is likewise proving to be deadly, as well.

Yet we must be cautious as we appraise the time that has passed since that wretched day. For all the good that has come from a nation united, there has been a larger surge of dangerous misdirection, folly and polished ugliness passing itself off as patriotism.

We must remember that no explanation for the events of September 11th have been forthcoming. 9/11 was many things, but above all it was an intelligence failure of spectacular dimensions. The CIA, FBI and NSA were all caught flat-footed, and not one official has come forward with an explanation. We have been told the attack came because certain individuals in the world hate our freedom, and that is all we know. Demands by the families of 9/11 victims that an open and independent investigation be immediately undertaken have been rebuffed by the Bush administration. Instead, a secret committee of congresspeople meets behind closed doors.

Bush and Cheney pressured Senate Majority Leader Daschle on the eve of Bush's first State of the Union speech to avoid too many piercing questions into why 9/11 happened. These are the two men whose chief responsibility it is to ensure that such an attack never comes again. Ostensibly, the War on Terror serves that purpose. The war, however, cannot correct institutional flaws within our security apparatus.

If we do not dig deep and hard into the reasons behind why 9/11 was allowed to happen, we leave ourselves open and vulnerable to another attack. This is unacceptable.

We must put pressure on the White House to avoid blocking any investigations that seek answers to this most vital of questions. If they do not, we must demand from them an explanation of their motives. We must also look hard at the War on Terror itself. It remains an undeclared war, and yet more and more resources are being poured into it. Bush announced some new steps to be taken in this fight. Chief among them was his intention to push the battle into fully one third of the nations on earth. This is unilateralism on an unprecedented scale, and pushes his "With us or against us" rhetoric onto truly hazardous ground.

Americans demanded action after 9/11, and they have gotten it. Yet we must examine the dangers inherent in an open-ended and ill-defined global engagement. As we polish our nuclear weapons and claim the right to invade whatever nation we wish, all the while sinking deeper into a murky quagmire in Afghanistan, it appears we have gotten far more than we bargained for. An explanation of what shall define victory in this fight, and a setting of clear parameters, is required.

We must look to define patriotism. Senators Tom Daschle and John Kerry chose to question, in the mildest of terms, the direction of this war. Mr. Daschle stated that if bin Laden, the purported author of this horror, fails to be captured and convicted for his crimes, the entire war itself will have failed to achieve its goal. They were pilloried on all sides for this, and their commitment to America called into question. It seems the White House would like nothing more than to marginalize Congressional oversight, in defiance of the Constitution, and will stoop to whatever hyperbole is available to do so.

On every car and every porch flutters an American flag, symbol of pride and strength for the people of this nation. Bumper stickers make declarations of unity, and lapel pins speak wordlessly for citizens who still weep at the thought of the dead and the lost. Those symbols, so proudly displayed, represent a nation racing towards ignominious defeat. We are losing this war, not because of the actions of a clever enemy, but because of dangerously poor leadership in Washington D.C. As William Shakespeare said, "When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with." In the end, we may all be forced to eat the sword being wielded in so cumbersome a fashion.

Our bombs in Afghanistan are not bringing to justice those who perpetrated the acts of September 11th, and are creating more enemies who will fight to see us die. The Justice Department has stumbled about like fools trying to ascertain the source of the anthrax threat with no notable success. Our tax dollars, vitally needed to defend the economy and the country, are being spent to reward corporations for their support of the GOP agenda. Our airports remain sieves through which more deadly threats may pour unchecked. Our homes and private communications are made of glass.

The world paused as we passed the one year anniversary of 9/11. Americans must take that moment of quiet and stretch it out. We must look around and determine whether this nation is forging the proper course. The world is a dangerous place, as the crater in Manhattan clearly shows. If we are to make it less so, then a hard appraisal of our actions to date is required. The greatest defeat of all would be if our course, begun with such fanfare and support, brings us into a world where 9/11 seems mild by comparison. We are a fair piece down that road already.

None of this matters to the dead. They trusted the President and his people to take care of the business of security, and knew nothing of the conflicts of interest inherent in a mob of energy company CEOs running the store. If America is to move intact through the minefield of the 21st century, we must redefine the threat that faces us. It is not the shadow men with the deadly eyes that cause us to lie awake at night, but the treason of divided loyalty along the halls of power in Washington.

That infection has led us to global war. The cure is not to kill, to invade, to make war and excuses. The cure is the understanding of consequences, and the cleansing of our sacred governmental institutions. When entities like Enron control our foreign policy, blood runs in rivers down our streets. The best interests of the people are not represented, but are in fact completely disregarded in pursuit of new markets and profit.

Victory will be found by exposing, in public and for all the world to see, the roots of our common catastrophe. In the aftermath of September 11th, it was the expectation and the demand of all that we stand together as one, in the name of the common good. Victory will come when our government and foreign policy meets this goal.

Come Wind, Come Weather...

"Beware the Ides of March!"

Unfortunately, we were not able to gather the permits for our March Protest in Washington D.C. We are revamping this web site to coinside with a national flyer campaign in partnership with The Alliance For Democracy. Stay tuned.

Manifesto:

I. Preamble: We The People - New social consciousness in a troubled world

II. The Port Huron Statement - Participatory Democracy 40 Years Later

III. Defending the Essence - The Constitution under attack

  • Understanding the PATRIOT Act
  • Understanding the TIPS Program
  • Destroying Freedom to Save Freedom

IV. The Return of the Robber Barons

  • Understanding the current state of the economy
  • The murder by inches of functional capitalism
  • A roll call of criminals

V. War Without End

  • A rudderless global conflict with no end in sight
  • The promulgation of fear as a political tool

VI. Conclusion

 


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